“Arrested, handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to an unknown detention center, accused of” propaganda against the Islamic Republic “. PEACE GULF
recommended books - IRAN
The house of the mosque
Kader Abdolah (Canongate Books Ltd 2011)
Kader Abdolah wrote this book in Dutch and won an award for second best book ever written in that language by Dutch readers. He was persecuted by both the Shah and Khomeini regimes and took refuge in the Netherlands in 1988.
This was not an impediment to removing the veil “to show Islam as a way of life … a moderate, domestic Islam, not the radical one.” The book tells the story of an influential family of Senjan, an emblematic city in Iran not too far from Qom, the second holy city of the Shiites after Mashad.
The author with clarity and delicacy describes life in Iran in a period of time that goes from the landing of the first man on the moon until the end of the first Gulf War. This, through the life of the historic family of Aga Jan, protagonist and custodian of the mosque house.
The author was born in Tehran in 1977 but left with the family in 1979 when the Islamic Revolution broke out. This book has all the tone and charm of the cultural circles of Iranian immigrants abroad. It is set in Buenos Aires, the first destination of her family migration, in a building on Avenida Florida called “Anna Karenina”.
The protagonist, Zadi, is there with her daughter for a chance meeting at the airport with Haji Khanoum, the beating heart of the palace life. She decides to get busy and open a beauty salon that bears the name of the English “iron woman”. Around the salon and the coming and going of customers of Iranian origin, a circle of poetry is created in which the inhabitants of the building meet once a week to read, comment, quarrel, always starting from the texts of the great Persians.
Their stories are intertwined in a present in which everyone’s past and the melancholy of abandoning their native land are reviewed.
City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran
Ramita Navai is an Iranian-English journalist who has won several awards and has a great reputation in investigative journalism in hostile environments.
She moved with her family to England at a very young age. In this book, she writes of the true face of Tehran, the city of lies, traveling far and wide the famous Vali Asr Street that cuts the city in two, proposing the stories of 8 ordinary people who live lives out of the ordinary just for being in Tehran, where survival depends on a complex web of falsehoods.
The porn star, the murderer and the enemy of the state who ends up working for the Republic, the housewife who asks for a divorce, the old-fashioned delinquent who runs a clandestine gambling den, the drug dealer … all very human faces that result from a skillful mix of the interviews made by the journalist.
Unfortunately, this book does not yet exist in Italian.
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Azar Nafisi (Deckle Edge 2008)
Azar Nafisi was a professor of English literature at the Allameh Tabatabei University of Tehran, but since 1997 she teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. The book is a biography of the author that was obliged to leave education for the pressure from the Islamic Republic. However, a sort of seminar of English literature continues with 7 of her most brilliant female-students that gather in her house once a week to discuss “forbidden” books. Gradually students open to the group and reveal their lives, exposing the complexity and difficulty of being a woman in the country of Ayatollahs.