A peek under the veil of life in Iran; Dr. Nafisi teaches a secret class on Thursday mornings to her most devoted literature students, reading Nabokov (Lolita), F Scott Fitzgerald (Gatsby), James, and Austen (which are the 4 sections of the book), and Mark Twain, Saul Bellow. Nicely done interweaving of Nafisi’s conflicts with the Islamic revolution with the literature analysis. Students setting themselves on fire, being executed secretly in jail, the adoption of the veil against her will, meeting her “magician” in a cafe to exchange books and having to move tables when it was raided b/c they weren’t related (women can’t consort with unrelated men), the deep red nail polish of one of her students’ nails covered by gloves, the blind film censor, putting Great Gatsby on trial, her former student naming her daughter Daisy for James’ Daisy Miller, the stories from her selected students (Azin, Yassi, Sanaz, Mitra, Mahshid, Manna, Nassrin), the Iraqi missile attacks on Tehran, the painful decision to leave Iran for the US, the covert satellite dishes, bootlegged vodka, the bus story: Iranian writers encouraged by the regime to travel to Armenia to a conference only to have their bus precariously stop atop a precipice to be toppled over if it weren’t for the quick reflexes of an insomniac onboard.
Nafisi is an excellent writer, and seems to be an amazing lit teacher, with a unique perspective on Iranian life.
sub=A Memoir in Books