The inspirational tale of eight women who defied the confines of life in revolutionary Iran through the joy and power of literature. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Azar Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. The women's 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. 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.
I really enjoyed reading the first section, where Nafisi relates her experiences in Tehran to Nabokov's "Lolita". However, after that I really struggled with the book, as it was repetitive and less well referenced and linked. But overall a fascinating story about a country we don't usually learn about.