Including a new preface that discusses the Iranian mood during and after the June 2009 presidential election and subsequent protests, this is an intimate look at a paradoxical country from a uniquely qualified journalist.
The grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, Hooman Majd offers perspective on Iran's complex and misunderstood culture through an insightful tour of Iranian culture, introducing fascinating characters from all walks of life, including zealous government officials, tough female cab drivers, and open-minded, reformist ayatollahs. It's an Iran that will surprise readers and challenge Western stereotypes.
A Los Angeles Times and Economist Best Book of the Year
With a New Preface
In this critical but affectionate portrait of Iranian politics and culture, Majd, the Western-educated grandson of an ayatollah, delves into the very core of Iranian society, closely examining social mores and Farsi phrases to identify the Persian sensibility, which, Majd determines, cherishes privacy, praise and poetry. Nothing is too small or too sweeping for Majd to consider, and although he announces his allegiance to the former president Khatami, he remains scrupulously even-handed in assessing his successor Ahmadinejad, shedding light on the Iranian president s obsession with the Holocaust and penchant for windbreakers and why the two are (surprisingly) intertwined. The author s brisk, conversational prose is appealing; his book reads as if he is chatting with a smart friend, while strolling around Tehran, engaged in ta arouf (an exaggerated form of self-deprecation key to understanding Persian society). Although Majd seems to gloss too quickly over realities that don t engage his interest women s voices are only intermittently included this failing scarcely mars this remarkable ride through what is often uncharted territory.