Sharmila Mukherjee on NPR:
Three new books spotlight the power of the written word to foster creative responses to confinement and oppression — and to inspire deep change within us.
Azar Nafisi’s Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times, Elena Ferrante’s In The Margins: On The Pleasures of Reading and Writing and Anna Quindlen’s Write for Your Life are all about the transformative possibilities that underlie political, social and personal crisis.
Nafisi, best known as the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, warns readers that America might well be on a slippery slope towards an autocratic government, such as the Islamic regime in her country of origin, Iran. Her book shows the power of great works of literature to resist the dictatorial impulse of today’s American politics. She proposes that we read dangerously — authors whose works challenge comforting clichés and attempt to change the world. Readers will find here incisive analyses of Salman Rushdie, Zora Neale Hurston, David Grossman, Elias Khoury, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others — authors whose writing is an act of surviving trauma.