I’m severely computer-deprived this week and posting from the library, so some reviews may omit a few things you typically see at the end, such as the best and worst lines in the book.
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. By Azar Nafisi. Random House, 384 pp., $14.95, paperback.
By Janice Harayda
This overrated memoir is the kind of book that critics tend to love, a reminder that literature can glow in the darkest of regimes — in this case, that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Azar Nafisi taught a secret class in the Western clasics to seven female students. But Nafisi is right when she writes in this overrated memoir that she is at times “too much of an academic”: “I have written too many papers and articles to be able to turn my experiences and ideas into narratives without pontificating.” As she describes her students’ responses to novels such as Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby, Nafisi slips into cliches and vapid acdemic locutions such as, “It is not an accident that …” Like a scholarly Nostradamus, she informs us that “it is not an accident that” the heroine of Washington Square wore a red satin dress at her first meeting with a dishonorable suitor, as though such a detail were ever an accident in Henry James’s novels.
Published: 2003 www.randomhouse.com
(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.