Elizabeth's Reviews > Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
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's review
Oct 19, 08

bookshelves: iran, gender-studies, memoirs
Read in October, 2008

I've been putting off this book, although it looked interesting, until I had read Lolita.

This book is the memoir of an English literature professor in Tehran during the rise of the Islamic Republic. Part of it is about being an intellectual woman during that time, and seeing its effect on the younger generation, but just as much of it is about why we read literature, and how it applies to our lives.

The featured books in that latter regard include, obviously, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, but also, Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Henry James's Daisy Miller, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Naturally, I got more out of the chapters about books I had actually read, and less out of Invitation to a Beheading and Daisy Miller.

Since I had such a hard time with The Turn of the Screw, however, I doubt I'll be picking up Daisy Miller anytime soon.

The literary criticism is very good (though like I said, I missed some of it), but the memoir is less engaging. (After setting the book down, it was all too easy to wander off and find something else to do, I'm afraid.) If you're only going to read one memoir about the Islamic Republic, I would say go for Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.

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