Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015494, Mon, 24 Sep 2007 23:09:50 -0400

book that relates to Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov ...
[image: Inquirer] <http://www.philly.com/inquirer/>

*Complete article at the following URL:*

Posted on Mon, Sep. 24, 2007

Publishers finding Iran is a hot read Fear? Curiosity? Shelves are full of
Persian themes.

By Carlin Romano

Inquirer Book Critic
At Columbia University today, the main course offering will be fireworks -
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stopping by to speak.

Protesters and security will be everywhere. Debate should be fierce. And the
verbal fireworks will be sparked by the question of the "Iranian Bomb."

But an Iranian explosion has already taken place in the United States - just
browse through your local bookstore.

There's scare-you nonfiction like *The Iranian Time Bomb:* ***The Mullah
Zealots' Quest for Destruction, *by Michael Ledeen and *The Iran Threat:
President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis* by Alireza Jafarzadeh;
historical overviews such as Mark Bowden's *Guests of the Ayatollah;* novels
by Iranians and Iranian Americans such as *Caspian Rain* by Gina B. Nahai
and *Sons and Other Flammable Objects* by Porochista Khakpour; and a
seemingly endless stream of memoirs by Iranian American women, such as *My
Name is Iran* by Davar Ardalan and *Persian Girls* by Nahid Rachlin.

[ ... ]

A major catalyst of the recent wave of books on Iran was a critically
acclaimed 2003 book by Azar Nafisi, a professor at Johns Hopkins University.

"Publishing a lot of memoirs by Iranian women," Nahai said, "has been driven
by the success of *Reading Lolita in Tehran*."

*Reading Lolita* not only drove the appetite for memoirs by women, but had
the side effect of pumping the market for all Iran books.

In fact, the volume of Iran-theme volumes now results in some internecine
battles among Iranian and Iranian American authors. For instance, Hamid
Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia and author of *Iran: A
People Interrupted*, has criticized *Reading Lolita in Tehran* for
supposedly giving support to Bush administration policies toward Iran, a
view that infuriates Zanganeh.

"Azar Nafisi is not a neocon," Zanganeh said. Iranians, she said, "can be
liberals" yet still "violently oppose," as she does, the current Iranian
regime and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

She is utterly against the decision of her alma mater, Columbia, to grant
Ahmadinejad a forum today.

[ ... ]

Zanganeh, who was born in Paris and originally came to the United States to
teach French literature at Harvard, is working on a book that relates to
Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov and the possibility of happiness.

"I joke to friends that I'm consciously trying to avoid the word *Iran*,"
she said.

Contact book critic Carlin Romano at 215-854-5615.

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