Elaine's Reviews > Censoring an Iranian Love Story

Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour
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Jun 06, 12

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Highly originally construction! I was prepared to be engrossed and, yes, horrified at what it means to live in a society, not only with no freedom, but with everchanging criteria for being a good citizen. Also, what it means to love in Iran. Well, I was engrossed for more than half of the book, but then it got to me. Nobody, not the characters in the novel being written or the novelist trying to get a love story published has any grip on anything. What's permissible today is a capital offense tomorrow. What is safe tomorrow would have gotten you purged a week ago. Nobody knows how to behave, what decisions to make, what friend today will denounce them tomorrow. Even riches don't make you safe. Ultimately, it's hopeless, depressing, and, yes, horrifying. Nothing ever changes, and that could have been shown in fewer than 238 pages.

This novel is a novel within a novel. One narrator is the author trying to write a love story the censors will allow to be published. The other story is the novel he is writing, complete with crossed out words.

He makes his case that living in Iran is horrible and that there is no hope for change, certainly not by the United States.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Perhaps you've seen the wonderful Iranian film, A Separation? Your account of this book reminds me of it a little, the tangle of administration which dogged the characters' lives and constrained their choices. The really interesting thing about A Separation was the coded way in which the director managed to say what he wanted to say while still getting the film passed by the censors.


Elaine Fionnuala wrote: "Perhaps you've seen the wonderful Iranian film, A Separation? Your account of this book reminds me of it a little, the tangle of administration which dogged the characters' lives and constrained th..."

This novel leaves little or no room for such coding. In fact, mentioning the semiotic coding in films gets a character in deep trouble.


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