Reading Mom and Dad in Tehran

From The New York Times:

Sciolino-190 When Azar Nafisi was a professor of Western literature in Tehran in the 1980s and ’90s, she told her best stories anonymously, sometimes to visiting foreign journalists seeking guidance about Iran’s Islamic Republic. In 1997 she settled for good in the United States and discovered her public voice, turning the volume up high in her 2003 memoir, “Reading Lolita in Tehran.” That memoir wove her personal stories with those of her former students, using as a touchstone their two years of shared experiences in a reading group at her home focused on banned authors like Nabokov and Fitzgerald. “Reading Lolita” became an international best seller; Nafisi, who is a visiting fellow and lecturer at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, became famous.

Now she has written a second memoir, much more intimate than the first, a dissection of her often difficult family life, recounted against the dramatic sweep and turbulence of recent Iranian history. The idea for the book sprang from a list that she began compiling in her diary sometime after the 1979 Islamic revolution, entitled “Things I Have Been Silent About.” It draws on other sources as well, including diaries her father, a former mayor of Tehran, started when she was 4, and addressed to her; his sanitized published memoirs and his unvarnished unpublished version; and family photographs, some of which she said she tookfrom her mother and which appear in the book. Much of the time she relies on memory, a powerful tool that can distort as well as enlighten.

(Picture shows Azar Nafisi’s mother, Nezhat.)

More here.