This memoir by Iranian academic and writer Azar Nafisi combines insights into the political and social upheaval of Iran with stories from the writer’s childhood, teenage years and early married life, detailing her troubled relationship with her mother in particular.
It is a beautifully written book, accessible and interesting. Like most people, my view of Iran is influenced by negative news stories. This book brings to life the real people behind those news reports. Life in Iran has changed so much, especially for its women, and reading about these changes, through the eyes of rebellious, strong-willed and intelligent Azar, both as a child and a woman, is eye-opening, and both heart-warming and heart-breaking.
The writer’s difficult relationship with her mother is one that many women, in particular, will identify with. Nafisi struggles with her mixed emotions – she clearly loves her mother, but she also sees her faults, whilst acknowledging the ways her mother does show her feelings. When her mother accompanies her to Lancaster to settle her in before she starts school, the care and love her mother shows are touchingly drawn. Nafisi portrays her feelings honestly and retains this honesty when detailing her close, loving relationship with her father; she doesn’t shy away from revealing his faults – the affairs he had for example.
This is a touching and fascinating book – skilfully written and intelligent.
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