Amanda's Reviews > Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
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Aug 27, 2007

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Read in August, 2007

This book seemed to suffer somewhat of an identity crisis. It was a political/historical memoir mixed with a touch of literary analysis.

I would have preferred Nafisi to leave out the analysis of the stories she read with her students, as they really slowed down the story. I wanted more details about everything. I had a dim perception of what people and places in the book looked like, but I could feel the heaviness of the chador the girls were forced to wear or taste the pastries the girls brought to class every week. I have no idea what the inside of her house looks like, which is important since a lot of the story takes place in her living room.

The problem probably lies in the fact that being from Iran, she takes for granted the details that people from other cultures might find useful. I know practically nothing about Persian culture, which is where further description would have been helpful. Also, she is an academic, and despite her love of literature there is a need to break a little further away from an academic style of writing.

Overall though, it's an interesting display of Nafisi's perspective of Iran as a non-conformist to the Islamic regime, as well as what Iran is and was during Nafisi's time there. I also liked the story because it reminded me a little of my Memoir class and the special bond that formed between everyone in the class :)
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