“Censoring an Iranian Love Story” is not simply prohibited by censorship but made by it. For Mandanipour, the censor is a kind of co-writer of the book, and he appears often in this novel, under the alias of Porfiry Petrovich (the detective who chases Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov). We see him squabbling with Mandanipour, chatting to another Iranian writer, plotting alternative stories for Dara and Sara, striking out offensive phrases, and finally falling in love with Sara. He is a heavy presence in the novel, and is both creator and critic; the writer is always anticipating the imagination of prohibition even as he tries to outwit it. Even more interesting, the writer, in this situation, becomes his characters; he wants what they want. Their freedom is bound up with his.
But ultimately, the post-modernism and politics of the book seem to devolve into heavy-handedness.