Reading Lolita in Tehran by AZAR NAFIZI

  • May 30, 2013 · 6:30 PM
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"We all have dreams—things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi’s dream and of the nightmare that made it come true.

For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading—Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita—their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran.

Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi’s class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of “the Great Satan,” she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense.

Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice." From the hardcover edition.

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  • RK

    I enjoyed the discussion and particularly the comments from the literature enthusiasts and from Farzad on Iranian history as well as perspectives from Asia.

    May 31, 2013

  • Betty

    Sorry to miss this meeting..I am a big fan of Azar Nafizi

    May 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    UNfortunately last minute family matter to attend to same time.

    May 30, 2013

  • Irina

    I will be late as I finish work at 7:30.

    May 29, 2013

  • Heather R.

    Hi everyone.. just joined but unfortunately will have to pass on this event due to a previous commitment. However, this is an incredible book. It's not one that you 'like' - it touches you. Looking forward to the next club. Best _ Heather

    May 28, 2013

  • giovanni m.

    Here is a quiz on the book­

    May 26, 2013

  • RK

    Appropriately for a book related to book discussions, here are some discussion questions from the Reader's Guide provided by the publisher­

    May 22, 2013

  • stacy

    Excellent book! When the hell will we ever have equal rights? We have a sad exsistance as females in society!

    April 22, 2013

    • Wayne S.

      How many Feminists are protesting sharia law as oppose to condemning Capitalism?

      May 6, 2013

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