We all have dreams things we fantasise about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi's dream and of the nightmare that made it come true.
For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular: several had spent time in jail.
They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.
Their stories intertwined with those they were reading: Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller, and their Lolita, as they imagined her, in Tehran.
Azar Nafisi's luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice.