Azadeh Moaveni's Iranian parents moved to California three years before the Shah was removed from power during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Moavini...moreAzadeh Moaveni's Iranian parents moved to California three years before the Shah was removed from power during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Moavini was born in Palo Alto, and had dual citizenship in the United States and Iran. She felt torn in her cultural identity as she was exposed to American culture in school and Iranian culture at home. Because radical students took the American embassy employees hostage in Iran in 1979, it was difficult to be an Iranian in the United States. Moaveni found that if she called herself Persian, it had a more exotic fairytale connotation when dealing with her American classmates.
After studying about the Mid-East in college, she became a journalist for Time magazine in Tehran in 2000, mostly covering the student pro-democracy uprisings and the youth culture. Most of her contacts were urban, educated, and upper middle class. Some reforms had been instituted with more educational opportunities for women, but no jobs existed to use their new skills when they graduated. The women still had to be veiled in public, but modern Iranian women wore colored veils and removed them at private parties where there was alcohol, drugs, and mingling between males and females. She found that facial plastic surgery was common among affluent women since the face was all that was visible in public places. Moaveni felt that the young Iranians were "preoccupied with sex in the manner of dieters constantly thinking about food" since the morality police were so obsessed with keeping men and women apart. When Moaveni was in Iran, she realized how American she was with her more liberal cultural views.
Several things convinced Moaveni that it was unsafe to stay in Iran. Along with many others, including children, she was beaten by police in a riot after a soccer game. After the 9/11 Twin Towers tragedy, the government watched journalists even more closely and wanted to approve what she wrote. President Bush called Iran part of the "axis of evil" in 2002. This played into the hands of the hard-liners, and the clerical extremists became more repressive.
She returned to the States, working for Time Magazine and later the Los Angeles Times, before moving to Beirut. She is now a reporter in the Mid-East.
Moaveni felt that she was Iranian when she was in America, and American when she was in Iran. This memoir is her story about her dual cultural identity, as well as a depiction of modern young Iranians during the reforms before 9/11. I enjoyed the book, and felt I learned a lot about both the beauty and the repression in Iran.(less)
"When you have lived as long as I have, the div replied, you find that cruelty and benevolence are but shades of the same color."
Khaled Hosseini has w...more"When you have lived as long as I have, the div replied, you find that cruelty and benevolence are but shades of the same color."
Khaled Hosseini has written a multigenerational story about family love, betrayal, heartbreak, redemption, and healing. The book, set in Afghanistan, France, Greece, and California, centers around two siblings separated as children. It shows the difficult life, and unthinkable choices, that exist for many people in the impoverished country of Afghanistan. Even when they move around the globe, their morally ambiguous decisions, family ties, and culture travel with them like an echo.
And the Mountains Echoed was the book I was most looking foreward to reading this summer, and I was not disappointed. This is a wonderfully crafted book written with intelligence, with beautiful language, and with lots of heart. Khaled Hosseini again shows us that he is a fascinating storyteller.(less)
When a group of Marines storm an abandoned house looking for insurgents, they hear strange noises. That's when they discovered a little puppy that had...moreWhen a group of Marines storm an abandoned house looking for insurgents, they hear strange noises. That's when they discovered a little puppy that had survived the bombing in Fallujah. Although there is a regulation forbidding the Marines from keeping pets, the little dog won the hearts of the tough Marines, especially Jay Kopelman.
This is the story of Jay's attempt to bring the puppy, Lava, back to the United States with him. The book also tells the story of the military in Iraq in 2004-2005 around the time of the Iraqi elections. Lava was a bright spot in the midst of all the killing. He seemed to help the Marines reduce their stress when they could forget the war for a few minutes and play with the puppy. Although the book had a happy ending for Lava, there were many Iraqis and American military personel that were not as lucky.(less)