Not only is the author's memoir of her life and that of her students in Iran fascinating, but their studies and discussions have inspired me (and at least 2 friends who also read Nafisi's book) to read or reread many of the works they discussed, and see so much we couldn't understand as high school or undergraduate students. I feel as though I too have become one of Professor Nafisi's students, and am thoroughly enjoying the experience.
It becomes clear that the early segment of Wilder's narrative parallels years of sessions with his therapist--touching and painful and ultimately leading to growth as an artist and as a man, flawed but fascinating. I can't imagine this book read by anyone but the author, especially given that his credo as an actor is to make it real. It definitely makes one want to go back to a number of his movies, especially some of the lesser-known ones.
I chose this book for my nephews, Harry Potter fans, but listened myself before giving them the disks. I had read several of Diane Duane's adult s-f titles, but like these even better. There are elements of Christian allegory without heavy handedness. A word of caution--Nita and Kit find themselves in quite dangerous situations and this could be quite scary for younger children. But my 8 and 10 year old nephews are eager to hear the next installment, which I just gave them.
For me, the most interesting part of the book was the historical background--the life of Christ and history of the Church, traditions of the Grail and the Knights Templar and the involvement of great historical, literary and artistic figures, all woven together into a conspiracy theorist's dream--or nightmare, perhaps. I also enjoy Brown's use of heroes whose strengths are mental rather than physical, although his recycling of male academic and female cryptographer--the same pairing found in Digital Fortress--seems forced. I might add that for cryptographers, both Susan(Fortress) and Sophie (Da Vinci) took forever to decode things that I had seen coming for a while. There are some good twists to the plot despite those weaknesses, and his depiction of Paris was generally good, although I think an 18-wheeler would have a hard time getting onto any of the streets bordering the grounds of the Louvre.
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