I just started reading this book today and so far I am enjoying it. In my anthropology class we just finished reading "Guests of the Sheik," an ethnography told by a woman who stays in an Iraqi Village for two years. The start of this book reminded me of the other, because Azar Nafisi briefly describes some of their customs, like serving tea quite often while having company, and almost always bringing a gift to a host when visiting their home. There were alot of similar themes such as women not wearing their face coverings, and also a lot of retrictions for women who attend school.
Anyway I thought it was neat to have a little bit of an understanding of the book before reading it.
I also thought it was interesting that Azar Nafisi, reminescent of Nabokov, does not want the reader to relate their story to the actual story of Lolita. It is merely a retelling of their story while reading it. I was reminded several times while reading of our English class. She says her small class was a "mixed group, with different and at times conflicting backgrounds, personal as well as religious and social... [and so] it remained loyal to its goals and ideas."
I know Nabokov says we aren't supposed to relate to the characters in a text, but I feel that is a good description of our class. Different backgrounds, not everyone agrees on everything, and when interesting and thought provoking texts are thrown into the mix, rich and unique class discussions unfold that really make you think.