Reading Lolita In Iran
Thinking about heading to Iran anytime soon, maybe for a spring road trip?
Just a guess…but it’s probably not a good idea carrying around the Lolita book in public while you’re over there.
I joke around a lot about being embarrassed about carrying certain books in public, but the thing I love about the United States is that I have that freedom. If I want to read a book about a 15-year-old girl going through puberty, then I have the freedom to do that.
Creepy? Yes. Illegal? No.
But life is different in Iran.
I recently discovered a book called Reading Lolita in Tehran, written by Azir Nafisi. Using Lolita as a metaphor (the whole captor and captive idea), the book is a memoir of Nafisi’s journey as she returns to Iran to teach at the University of Tehran in 1979.
Upon her return, she rebels against the Iranian power structure, refusing to wear a veil, teaching blacklisted Nabokov books like Lolita, One Thousand and One Nights, and Invitation to a Beheading, and eventually forming an underground book club.
According to our friends at Wikipedia, Nafisi implies that, “like the principal character in Lolita, the regime in Iran imposes their ‘dream upon our reality, turning us into his figments of imagination.’ In both cases, the protagonist commits the ‘crime of solipsizing another person’s life.'”
The book spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and has been translated into 32 languages.
My guess is that advocating Lolita in Iran might be a little like taking your Bill Clinton biography to a GOP convention. That’s a little random, I know.
Anyway, have you read Reading Lolita inTehran? Heard of it? Is it a worthy nonfiction read?