"Elektra in Tehran"

The New York Review of Books reviews Azar Nafisi's new book, "Things I've Been Silent About: Memories," in which the author delves into her own family history and her difficult relationship with her mother in brutal detail. 

Nafisi is of course famous the world over for her book "Reading Lolita in Tehran," which besides being a global best-seller has also been the object of some very intense criticism. (While I share some of these critics' reservations, I found their intransigence and they way they throw around the accusation of being a "native informant," off-putting and troublesome.) I enjoyed parts of Nafisi's book, in particular some of the anecdotes about teaching literature in Tehran, but my biggest problem with the book was that I found the literary framing device heavy-handed. Nafisi referenced some of my own very favourite books, but I felt she didn't treat these texts--or her "characters," the women in her reading group--with the subtlety they required. 

In any case, her new work still addresses the same period in Iran's history--the end of the Shah's regime and the Iranian Revolution, but from a much more particular point of view. Here's another review and an excerpt.
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Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.