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.
©2003 Azar Nafisi; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
"This book transcends categorization as memoir, literary criticism, or social history, though it is superb as all three." (Publishers Weekly)
"Nafisi's determination and devotion to literature shine through, and her book is an absorbing look at primarily Western classics through the eyes of women and men living in a very different culture." (Booklist)
"Remarkable...an eloquent brief on the transformative power of fiction." (The New York Times)
"A spirited tribute both to the classics of world literature and to resistance against oppression." (Kirkus Reviews)
For some reason I found the beginning of this so slow. It was just introductions of people, descriptions of places, and some basic history. Necessary, but kind of boring. It does get better, eventually, but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people have trouble wih the first hour or so.
Not knowing much about Iran, I feel I learned alot about the Iranian people and the revolution from this book. Nafisi weaves a great narrative with personal stories about herself and her friends and students. I personally could have done with less of the literary review that was omnipresent and a bit detailed at times. I agree with another reviewer that the narrator's voice gives life to the story, but her accent (it was almost pretentious in the pronounciation) did get a little grating toward the end. Definitely worth a listen if you want to know more about life in Iran for almost two decades after the revolution.
I have to agree with the article in the Washington Post entitled "Sorry, Wrong Chador": this book has very little to do with Iran today, and is really about Nafisi herself.
This is a feast of an audio book with a terrific reader--one of the best ever--and a spellbinding story. Fascinating from cultural, literary, and philosophical standpoints. We were spellbound. The author really knows how to tell a story...and so does the reader.
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