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In a direct, frank, and intimate exploration of Iranian literature and society, scholar, teacher, and poet Fatemeh Keshavarz challenges popular perceptions of Iran as a society bereft of vitality and joy. Her fresh perspective on present-day Iran provides a rare insight into this rich culture alive with artistic expression but virtually unknown to most Americans.
Keshavarz introduces readers to two modern Iranian women writers whose strong and articulate voices belie the stereotypical perception of Iranian women as voiceless victims in a country of villains. She follows with a lively critique of the recent best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which epitomizes what Keshavarz calls the "New Orientalist narrative," a view marred by stereotype and prejudice more often tied to current geopolitical conflicts than to an understanding of Iran.
Blending in firsthand glimpses of her own life—from childhood memories in 1960s Shiraz to her present life as a professor in America—Keshavarz paints a portrait of Iran depicting both cultural depth and intellectual complexity. With a scholar's expertise and a poet's hand, she helps amplify the powerful voices of contemporary Iranians and leads readers toward a deeper understanding of the country's past and present.
Introduction: What Does the Elephant Look Like? 1
1 The Jasmine, the Stars, and the Grasshoppers 13
2 The Eternal Forough: The Voice of Our Earthly Rebellion 33
3 My Uncle the Painter 59
4 Women without Men: Fireworks of the Imagination 85
5 The Good, the Missing, and the Faceless: What Is Wrong with Reading Lolita in Tehran 109
6 Tea with My Father and the Saints 145
Recommended Reading 167
Posted January 29, 2008
It's a fascinating book. I can relate my childhood and youth to Dr. Keshavarz. I am so thrilled to find her. I can see the stars even from the roof of my room. I can smell the jasmin and feel that I am still in my home in Iran and review my beautiful memories again!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.