Veil of Tears

Two Children of the Revolution Look Back at Iran

For both Nafisi and Satrapi—one a well-respected professor, the other a pampered schoolgirl—government edicts ravage external and internal life. Marji wonders how she'll ever become the next Marie Curie, while Nafisi's whole sense of herself begins to unravel:

Now that I could not wear what I would normally wear, walk in the streets to the beat of my own body, shout if I wanted to or pat a male colleague on the back on the spur of the moment, now that all this was illegal, I felt light and fictional . . . as if I had been written into being and then erased in one quick swipe.

illustration: from Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Courtesy Pantheon Books

Details

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
By Marjane Satrapi
Pantheon, 160 pp., $17.95
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Reading Lolita in Tehran
By Azar Nafisi
Random House, 238 pp., $23.95
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Satrapi and Nafisi have chosen the perfect moment to write themselves back into being. As the U.S. gazes in the direction of their homeland like a bully contemplating its next target, these books add a crucial dimension to our vague and impersonal understanding of contemporary Iran.

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