Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 6, 2009
More by this author
It's common for me to come across an article on the Middle East while browsing The New York Times or Newsweek. I don't know about the average Teen Ink reader, but I have never been able to get through more than the first paragraph. Blame society, video games, or the average teenage disposition, but my attention span just doesn't stretch far enough. But that's the miracle of Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. This book provides an accessible portal for someone like me to understand the complex history of the trials and tribulations in Iran during one of its most volatile times: the 1980s and ྖs.

Reading Lolita in Tehran is an account of an Iranian woman's life during the Islamic Revolution. But Nafisi's writing about the healing and magical power of literature is almost more amazing than her vivid descriptions of Iran. Nafisi effortlessly blends analyses of classics like The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice (and, as the title implies, Lolita) with grippingly honest depictions of the decay of her beloved Iran.

Nafisi's adoration of literature leaps off the page, leading the reader to believe, as she does, in the beauty of Nabokov, Fitzgerald, and Austen. Anyone who doesn't feel the immediate impulse to find a copy of Lolita simply hasn't read closely enough, as her connections between the seductive reasoning of Lolita's narrator, Humbert, and the seductive power of the Revolution are eloquently intriguing.

Nafisi's portrayals of the injustices that slowly destroy a rebellious woman's dignity and self-respect, compel the reader to feel frustration, sympathy, and sadness.

Reading Lolita in Tehran not only can help educate a mostly oblivious America about the history of Iran, but also show the paramount importance of literature to the human experience. It is an unforgettable account of an English professor during the Islamic Revolution and the power of literature to influence a woman's life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

rushimpersonated(hx) said...
Nov. 25, 2009 at 8:43 am
hey ells, me again! this was so good!! nice job!! at times it was heavy with "wishy-washy words" and a bit convoluted but it flowed well, and it sounds great as a piece of literature (ur review) as for you last few sentences. just wow! how deep! nice!
Ellie D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm
I wish this website's coding or whatever could understand symbols (as a lot of this is unintelligible)
Site Feedback