The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

"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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