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I did not know what to expect when I selected this book, but I am glad I did. Navai gives us a glimpse of life into modern day Teheran and it is an ugly picture indeed. Decades ago, Eric Hoffer wrote the "True Believer" an examination of extreme regimes and how they are born and survive - if Hoffer were alive to update the book, modern Iran would easily fit in with little revision.
Not all of Navai's characters are helpless pawns or innocent victims, but all suffer at the hands of the regime. The story reinforces my distrust of organized religion.
Lisle's narration is flawless and contributes greatly with a five star rating. I finished the book in two days and found it impossible to put down.
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I loved the journalistic edge of each of Navai's stories. Each vignette shined a light on a corner of Tehran revealing the truth behind each character's circumstances. Not unlike American society, wealth, gender and birthright play a staring role in determining ones options in Iran. Where few options remain, character's resort to the most primal druthers of death, sex and lies. A city divided by its differences is ultimately connected geographically and metaphorically by Valiasr Street a symbol of common struggle of a culture transformed in just one generation by religion and politics. Overall, the author brilliantly unveils a culture, its people, and its evolution in a sea of one note descriptions of a city, country, and region.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful