Lorraine's Reviews > Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
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Apr 07, 07

bookshelves: independence-branch-book-discussion, list-2004
Read in January, 2004

I would love to give this book 5 stars, b/c of its theme and setting, and especially because of the courage displayed by the people in it. Unfortunately, I can only give it 4 stars, b/c in my opinion the literary criticism detracted from the story of these women who risked so much to gather and talk about books and reading, and their teacher, who dared to bring them together under the oppressive regime in Tehran. It is a beautiful book, in many ways, and the authour's passion and compassion are impressive. The actual comments about the books they were reading are the only thing that seemed dry and academic, but the women themselves are beautifully drawn and I would love to read a sequel to find out what happened to them 5 or 10 years on.

In spite of my criticisms, I believe this is a deeply important book, not just to me, but to our world. It shows a vivid portrait of effects of tyranny and oppression and the cost some are willing to pay for intellectual freedom. Let all of us blessed to live with that freedom as a normal part of our daily lives give thanks.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Megan It's so funny that you think the literary analysis in the book was 'dry and academic,' because for me, this book really restored my desire to read fiction after a long bout of really only academic non-fiction. I felt that in addition to the stories about these women, one of the key things you were also supposed to take away from this book was the importance of reading literature and its relevance and meaning for real life. So in that way, her discussion about books was probably as inspirational for me as her portrayal of her students.


Lorraine This is interesting to me. I guess because I'm not at all academic, that aspect of the book doesn't appeal to me as much. If it is possible to be an "intellectual" without being academic?? Or maybe I'm not all that intellectual, either . . . But at any rate, I haven't had the experience of not reading fiction, it has always been a foundational part of my life. I suppose the importance didn't need to be shown to me, although on the other hand, I don't know that I've gotten that much application for real life out of it, pure enjoyment was what I was after, and frequently found. I've been a member of my library's book discussion group for many years and that has certainly honed my skills of analysis and helped me to appreciate good writing in ways I never had before.


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