Moaveni's depiction of Iranian society, her keen eye for detail and her astute observations make for exhilarating reading. One finishes the book feeling sad for a people forced to battle against arbitrary and inconsistent rules, but confident that they will obtain the freedom they long for.
The Washington Post
[Honeymoon in Tehran] is a book that uses the author's own experiences as a prism by which to view political developments in Tehran, a book that leaves the reader with an indelible portrait of the author's family and a highly personal picture of Iran's social and political evolution…Ms. Moaveni does an affecting job of conveying how the Islamic government's edicts permeated every aspect of people's private lives.
The New York Times
In her new memoir, American-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad) returns to Tehran in 2005 to cover Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election for Time magazine, hoping to make the city her permanent home. Her plans are complicated by the standoff with the U.S. over Iran's nuclear program, as well as several unexpected turns in her life. She falls in love, moves in with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant, gets married-in that order-in a country that has no word for "boyfriend" and no qualms about brutally beating unmarried pregnant women. Through her own experience, Moaveni reports on the growing apathy of the people of Iran, a society burdened by staggering inflation and tensions between religion, political oppression and secular life, the latter ever more enticing through ubiquitous, illegal satellite television. Gradually, the idealism and religious faith that characterized Moaveni's younger years wane. With the birth of her son, her misgivings come to a head, compounded by the spying, threats and intimidation she experienced at the hands of the Ministry of Intelligence. Moaveni, who now lives in London with her family, has penned a story of coming-of-age in two cultures with a keen eye and a measured tone. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Frank, somewhat scattershot account by California-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad, 2005) of life under Iran's repressive regime. In Tehran in the spring of 2005, sent by Time magazine to evaluate young people's sense of their future on the eve of the Iranian presidential election, Moaveni, who then resided in Beirut, was also testing the waters to see if she wanted to move to Iran permanently. She was charmed by the feeling of thaw that permeated Tehran, the laxness about enforcing dress codes and the yearning for an open society run by a secular government. But the apathy about voting by this generation of Iranians, who cared more about securing material goods than about revolution or civil liberties, enabled the sudden, alarming ascent of fundamentalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the figurehead of an increasingly repressive theocracy. Despite such warning signs over the next two years as the arbitrary police destruction of satellite dishes and Internet censorship, Moaveni stayed, largely because she fell in love with a divorced businessman and became pregnant. (The couple's hasty decision to get married was prompted by fear of "the morality police.") She was required to meet regularly with a government minder to whom she had to reveal her journalistic projects and sources. "Mr. X" grew increasingly menacing, and the author was essentially cowed from talking to anyone or writing about injustice. Moaveni made peace with her decision "to put safety above the story," she writes, though she admires those like her friend Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who risked imprisonment and worse. Blessed with wealthy, influential relatives in a country where connections are everything, theauthor's self-proclaimed naivete is frequently appalling, though it certainly underscores the apolitical nature of a younger generation that dreams primarily of personal freedom from the Islamic regime. Stylistically clunky and excessively detailed, but still a rare, rich glimpse inside a closed society.
Advance praise for Honeymoon in Tehran
“This perfect blend of political commentary and social observation is an excellent choice for readers interested in going beyond the headlines to gain an in-depth understanding of twenty-first-century Iran.”
“A rare, rich glimpse inside a closed society.”
“A story of coming-of-age in two cultures [written] with a keen eye and a measured tone.”
“Sharp and written with ferociously brilliant reporting, Honeymoon in Tehran, Azadeh Moaveni’s nuanced perspective on her ancestors’ homeland, is without peer.”
–Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan
“Honeymoon in Tehran is a timely, well-written, and intimate exploration of the soul of Iran. With an eye for detail and a feel for her subject matter, Moaveni has brought to life a country that is at once immensely important to the West and deeply misunderstood. Honest, perceptive, and nuanced, this tale of love and anguish in the Islamic Republic is brimming with poignant political insights. This book will enchant and educate.”
–Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future
“At a time when Iranian journalists were jailed and their newspapers regularly shut down, Time magazine correspondent Azadeh Moaveni managed to give voice to the Iranian psyche. Fearlessly, Moaveni pushed the limits of her Iranian government minder and refused to be intimidated. Her stories revealed the internal turmoil felt by many Iranians decades after the revolution. Honeymoon in Tehran is a powerful and compelling read that gives a face to the voices of discourse in Iran, voices that still long for a lawful society.”
–Davar Ardalan, senior producer at NPR News and author of My Name Is Iran