Friday, January 15, 2010

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Title: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Author: Azar Nafisi
Pages: 347
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 2.5/5

From the Back Cover:
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading."

While I did not HATE this book, I found myself struggling to immerse myself into it. It did not flow easily for me. The first section talks about the secret meetings in the authors home, but then not again until the very end. The middle seemed to be a whole different story all together and I found myself forgetting the characters by the final section.

That being said, I found the words very informative, and really got to capture the novels discussed in a new way that I have never thought of before. I have never read anything by Henry James or Vladimir Nabokov, but maybe someday. Lolita sounds very intriguing to me. I also learned a lot about the Islamic Republic that I never knew before. (I understand that what is in the novel is the perception of the author and nothing else.)

I am glad that I read this novel because of the things I learned and the thoughts and feelings it inspired in me. Maybe I should rethink the rating to a little higher, but as of right now, I still feel glad to be done reading it. I don't like feeling like that at the end of a book.... Maybe that is just me.


Okie said...

This does sound like a very intriguing concept and could be an entertaining read but it also sounds like it might be overly complex/analytical and may detract from the message because of that.

Nymeth said...

I'm sorry this one didn't completely work for you! While I loved it, I can see why not everyone would.

Rebecca :) said...

Like you, I couldn't really get into this book either. I thought I would love it after reading other books about the culture and really enjoying them. But I didn't feel it flowed very well, either.

Care said...

I enjoyed this book but remember being distracted more than necessary (not the fault of the book but my own motivations) that I needed to read Lolita! Which I have done and want to read again, actually. I have read a Henry James, poor guy -he is a product of his times, I'm afraid, but I did enjoy the book I read.