Reading Lolita in Tehran

In her book, Azar Nafisi asks readers to imagine her and her students reading Lolita in Tehran. I imagine them, listen to their stories, their pains, their lives, their chosen destinies by an authoritarian regime. I picture what Nafisi paints with her words, the color of her rug, the faces of her girls. Their Iran is different than what mine is. Theirs is colorless, stale, rigid, formidable. Mine is the memory of narrow kooches, the ones I freely hopped in, held my brother’s hands, walked in a loosely tied scarf, wore a fainted red lipstick. My Iran is the memory of women and the mass of hair they revealed from underneath their scarves. The memory of forgotten veils and pink scarves. But in the living room of Nafisi’s house, Iran is in a bad time period, trapped within a difficult, bitter array of rules, regulations. The girls expose the colors of their hair, their makeup and clothes inside this colorful living room, the only place where black and white don’t overrule the rest of the colors. They share their bitterness against the outside world, the world of forbidden fiction, forbidden tastes, forbidden colors. It is inside Nafisi’s living room that they enter the imagination of Nabokov, the fantasies of Humbert Humbert, the tragic life of little Lo, Lolita. What me and these girls share is quite simply the desperation to escape realities that trap us, the desperation to abandon the walls that keep us locked in a world of politics, officials, prison guards.

One Comment, RSS

  1. sasha August 1, 2006 @ 1:58 am

    etefaghan mikhastam behet begam in ketab o khoondi!
    yeki az moalemaye americanam inketabo behem hadie karde :D:D!
    mooch mooch!

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