A moving memoir about the authoress Azar and seven female students of hers. Azar was a professor at Tehran university, until resigning due to the dictatorial policies that involved banning great works of Western literature from being studied. She decided to continue to hold a private class with invited participants.
For two years Mashid, Nassrin, Manna, Azin, Sanez, Mitra and Yassi met in secret at Azar's home to discuss the novels of Valdimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James and Jane Austen amongst others.
These weekly meetings which at first started out with shy and somewhat intimidated young women gradually changed into more relaxed gatherings as they became friends. It is through getting to know the young women within the pages of this memoir that you will learn of the realities of living in Iran under the strict Islamic rules of the period.
The women found that they could often empathise with the heroines from the novels they were studying. Comparing the difficulties they had in their lives with those of their own in present day Iran.
I liked the way this memoir used literary criticism to explain the injustices these women amongst others were suffering, but the style might not appeal to everyone.
This video from YouTube is a good introduction to the book.