Review: ‘The Republic of Imagination’ by Azar Nafisi

November 22, 2014 12:00 PM

1 0

Azar Nafisi is an enthusiast. In the epilogue to her new book, she states that she began her analysis (but, really, celebration) of American literature intending to write about 24 books. She ended up choosing three: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Babbitt and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” In these works by Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis and Carson McCullers, she finds the essence of the American experience, filtered through narratives not about exceptionalism or fabulous success, but alienation, solitude and landscape. Her argument is compelling, but more than that, her pleasure in these works is contagious.

Nafisi is best known for her bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, in which she wove together reading and memoir and produced a compelling argument about the role of literature in repressive societies as an exercise in freedom and self-realization, especially for women. In The Republic of Imaginatio...

Also read: Louise Cooley, wife of famed heart surgeon, dead at 92

Read more

To category page