10 October 2006

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Arts and Letters Daily pointed out a couple of articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education detailing some of the criticism of Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran (I wrote about it a couple of times here and here. The first is about Nafasi's perceived political persuasion, the second about the photo on the front.

Personally, I don't see what the fuss is about. She can write what she wants regardless of her politics, and pictures are often cropped to bring out the point people want to make. I can assure you I've cropped things out of pictures I've posted here. When I see that cropped picture, I see two young Iranian women- that's it. There is no implication that they have anything to do with Lolita.

However, I would dearly love to see more books published and being recognized in the US (in a similar way that Not Without My Daughter and Reading Lolita in Tehran were, although they would be very different books) that hold less-than-popular viewpoints on various governments around the world. It would have to be done by excellent authors though. You don't have to be so good when you're writing something people want to hear. And people want to hear that the Iranian government is oppressive. And it is, but there's always more to the story.


  1. Have you read Geraldine Brooks' Nine Parts of Desire> It's a view into Islam as lived by women in different Middle Eastern countries. She researched the book when her husband got a plum reporting assignment.

    Whenever I rant and get depressed by all the travel experiences I can't have as a woman, I remember Brooks' realization of the unique opportunity she had, as a woman, to explore other areas that would be closed off to men. A lot of the time, "spin" can be a good thing!

  2. I've had that book recommended to me before, but I've not read it yet. I'll pick it up at the library today. Thanks!