Censoring an Iranian Love Story

Censoring an Iranian Love Story

3.63 (1,373 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From one of Iran's most acclaimed and controversial contemporary writers, his first novel to appear in English--a dazzlingly inventive work of fiction that opens a revelatory window onto what it's like to live, to love, and to be an artist in today's Iran. The novel entwines two equally powerful narratives. A writer named Shahriar--the author's fictional alter ego--has struggled for years against the all-powerful censor at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Now, on the threshold of fifty, tired of writing dark and bitter stories, he has come to realize that the "world around us has enough death and destruction and sorrow." He sets out instead to write a bewitching love story, one set in present-day Iran. It may be his greatest challenge yet. Beautiful black-haired Sara and fiercely proud Dara fall in love in the dusty stacks of the library, where they pass secret messages to each other encoded in the pages of their favorite books. But Iran's Campaign Against Social Corruption forbids their being alone together. Defying the state and their disapproving parents, they meet in secret amid the bustling streets, Internet cafes, and lush private gardens of Tehran. Yet writing freely of Sara and Dara's encounters, their desires, would put Shahriar in as much peril as his lovers. Thus we read not just the scenes Shahriar has written but also the sentences and words he's crossed out or merely imagined, knowing they can never be published. Laced with surprising humor and irony, at once provocative and deeply moving, "Censoring an Iranian Love Story" takes us unforgettably to the heart of one of the world's most alluring yet least understood cultures. It is an ingenious, wholly original novel--a literary tour de force that is a triumph of art and spirit. "From the Hardcover edition."show more

Product details

  • CD-Audio
  • 127 x 149.86 x 30.48mm | 294.83g
  • Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • United States
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged
  • 0739384279
  • 9780739384275

Review quote

"In what now reads like an eerie echo of the killing of a young Iranian woman cut down by a bullet during this month's election protests, the Iranian author of this new novel [in its opening pages] foresees the possible death of his heroine in the streets of Tehran. At once a novel about two young Iranians trying to conduct a covert romance in Tehran; a postmodern account of the efforts of their creator to grapple with the harsh censorship rules of his homeland; and an Escher-like meditation on the interplay of life and art, reality and fiction, ["Censoring an Iranian Love Story"] leaves the reader with a harrowing sense of what it is like to live in Tehran under the mullahs' rule, and the myriad ways in which the Islamic government's strict edicts on everything from clothing to relationships between the sexes permeate daily life. The novel provides a darkly comic view of the Kafkaesque absurdities of living in a country where movies could be subject to review by a blind censor; whereshow more

About Shahriar Mandanipour

Shahriar Mandanipour has won numerous awards for his novels, short stories, and nonfiction in Iran, although he was unable to publish his fiction from 1992 until 1997 as a result of censorship. He came to the United States in 2006 as the third International Writers Project Fellow at Brown University. He is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in PEN America and The Literary Review and is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. From the Hardcover edition.show more

Rating details

1,373 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 23% (318)
4 35% (474)
3 28% (386)
2 11% (157)
1 3% (38)
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