leggere lolita a teheran / reading lolita in tehran

last night i finished a book i was reading for last couple of months. as i said, i’m a slow reader. it doesn’t mean i didn’t like it, in my view it required time. after every couple of chapters i would stop to think for a while, since i could relate to what was going on in the book.


reading lolita in tehran is written by azar nafisi, iranian writer and university professor. my copy was in italian, since it was a birthday gift from my friend sonja. it’s a memoir book, nafisi writes about her life in iran, starting with forming a book club with several of her best female students, reflects on islamic revolution, remembers 8 year-long war between iraq and iran, and ends the book with her decision to leave her motherland.

the quotes i’ve chosen are related to three topics which got me thinking. those are the war, the inner world which we can create within ourselves and nostalgia for one’s motherland.


“la guerra finì com’era cominciata, all’improvviso e in silenzio. almeno questo fu la nostra impressione. le sue conseguenze, però, ce le saremmo portate dietro a lungo, forse per sempre.”

“the war ended the way it had started, suddenly and quietly. at least that is how it seemed to us. the effects of the war would stay with us for a long time, perhaps forever.”

this is exactly how i feel about bosnian war and its consequences. even though it didn’t affect my family as much, our lives changed completely. my motherland is not what it used to be before the war.

inner world

“ho detto che ci incontravamo nel mio soggiorno per proteggerci dalla realtà esterna. ho anche detto che quella realtà continuava a pretendere la nostra attenzione, come un bambino viziato che non vuole concedere ai poveri genitori nemmeno un attimo di tregua. influenzava i nostri momenti di intimità, ne cambiava le forme, ci precipitava in un’improvvisa e inaspettata complicità. arrivavamo a conoscerci a fondo in tanti modi diversi. non soltanto le attività più ordinarie acquistavano una luce tutta nuova, per via di quel nostro segreto; era la stessa vita quotidiana, nella sua interezza, che a volte finiva per assomigliare alla finzione.”

“i have said that we were in that room to protect ourselves from the reality outside. i have also said that this reality imposed itself on us, like a petulant child who would not give his frustrated parents a moment to themselves. it created and shaped our intimacies, throwing us into unexpected complicity. Our relations became personal in many different ways. not only did the most ordinary activities gain a new luminosity in the light of our secret, but everyday life sometimes took on the quality of make-believe or fiction.”

i was often told i live in my own little world, ever since i was little. until reading this book i would often think that maybe i was too much introvert, overly closed to outer world and i that should open up a bit. now i know i need my own space (just like everyone else) in order to understand reality and to carry on with my dreams and goals.


“ho lasciato l’iran, ma l’iran non ha lasciato me.”
“i left iran, but iran did not leave me.”

oh i could so relate to this. i believe all of us who left our home felt at least once this way.
nafisi managed to capture what i haven’t been able to do ever since i decided to leave bosnia.

i left bosnia, but bosnia did not leave me.
napustila sam bosnu, ali bosna mene nije napustila.


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