Azar Nafisi Famous Quotes & Sayings

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pinterest Share on Linkedin

100 Azar Nafisi Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Azar Nafisi Sayings: I used to joke that we had prepared ourselves for a time like this by I used to joke that we had prepared ourselves for a time like this by living with Mother. The problem with such a state of affairs was not that you did not get to do what you wanted
sometimes you did
but the effort to appease or resist the reigning deities left you so exhausted that it prevented you from ever really having fun. To this day having fun, just plain enjoying myself, comes at the cost of a conviction that I have committed an undetected crime.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Later, Nima told us that the son of one of his friends, a ten-year-old, had Later, Nima told us that the son of one of his friends, a ten-year-old, had awakened his parents in horror telling them he had been having an "illegal dream." He had been dreaming that he was at the seaside with some men and women who were kissing, and he did not know what to do. He kept repeating to his parents that he was having illegal dreams.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Fiction is an antidote, a reminder of the power of individual choice. Every novel has Fiction is an antidote, a reminder of the power of individual choice. Every novel has at its core a choice by at least one of its protagonists, reminding the reader that she can choose to be her own person, to go against what her parents or society or the state tell her to do and follow the faint but essential beat of her own heart.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: There is little consolation in the fact that millions of people are unhappier than we There is little consolation in the fact that millions of people are unhappier than we are. Why should other people's misery make us happier or more content?
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The worst crime committed by totalitarian mind-sets is that they force their citizens, including their The worst crime committed by totalitarian mind-sets is that they force their citizens, including their victims, to become complicit in their crimes. Dancing with your jailer, participating in your own execution, that is an act of utmost brutality.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: That, of course, is what great works of imagination do for us: They make us That, of course, is what great works of imagination do for us: They make us a little restless, destabilize us, question our preconceived notions and formulas.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: My passion has always been books and literature, and teaching. My passion has always been books and literature, and teaching.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The class's favoritebook was Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading. In this novel, Nabokov differentiates Cincinnatus The class's favorite
book was Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading. In this novel, Nabokov differentiates
Cincinnatus C., his imaginative and lonely hero, from those around him through his
originality in a society where uniformity is not only the norm but also the law.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I believe in empathy. I believe in the kind of empathy that is created through I believe in empathy. I believe in the kind of empathy that is created through imagination and through intimate, personal relationships. I am a writer and a teacher, so much of my time is spent interpreting stories and connecting to other individuals. It is the urge to know more about ourselves and others that creates empathy. Through imagination and our desire for rapport, we transcend our limitations, freshen our eyes, and are able to look at ourselves and the world through a new and alternative lens.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: And even with the book closed, the voices do not stop--there are echoes and reverberations And even with the book closed, the voices do not stop--there are echoes and reverberations that seem to leap off the pages and mischievously leave the novel tingling in our ears.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: One of the most wonderful things about Pride and Prejudice is the variety of voices One of the most wonderful things about Pride and Prejudice is the variety of voices it embodies. There are so many different forms of dialogue: between several people, between two people, internal dialogue and dialogue through letters. All tensions are created and resolved through dialogue. Austen's ability to create such multivocality, such diverse voices and intonations in relation and in confrontation within a cohesive structure, is one of the best examples of the democratic aspect of the novel. In Austen's novels, there are spaces for oppositions that do not need to eliminate each other in order to exist. There is also space - not just space but a necessity - for self-reflection and self-criticism. Such reflection is the cause of change. We needed no message, no outright call for plurality, to prove our point. All we needed was to reach and appreciate the cacophony of voices to understand its democratic imperative. There was where Austen's danger lay.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: We must thank the Islamic Republic for making us rediscover and even covet all these We must thank the Islamic Republic for making us rediscover and even covet all these things we took for granted: one could write a paper on the pleasure of eating a ham sandwich. And I said, Oh, the things we have to be thankful for! And that memorable day was the beginning of our detailing our long list of debts to the Islamic Republic: parties, eating ice cream in public, falling in love, holding hands, wearing lipstick, laughing in public and reading Lolita in Tehran.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Teaching is a funny business; you want to share these glimpses of something real and Teaching is a funny business; you want to share these glimpses of something real and profound, but half the time students want only to know their next assignment and what they will need to study for the test.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Life in the Islamic Republic was as capricious as the month of April, when short Life in the Islamic Republic was as capricious as the month of April, when short periods of sunshine will suddenly give way to showers and storms.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The facts in this story are true insofar as any memory is ever truthful, but The facts in this story are true insofar as any memory is ever truthful, but I have made every effort to protect friends and students, baptizing them with new names and disguising them perhaps even from themselves, changing and interchanging facets of their lives so that their secrets are safe.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I went on and on, and as I continued, I became more righteous in my I went on and on, and as I continued, I became more righteous in my indignation. It was the sort of anger one gets high on, the kind one takes home to show off to family and friends.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Those who judge must take all aspects of an individual's personality into account. Those who judge must take all aspects of an individual's personality into account.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: This is the old part of Tehran, with small spice shops, dusty narrow alleys with This is the old part of Tehran, with small spice shops, dusty narrow alleys with dry streams winding into houses with tall protective walls.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: My toe as a lethal weapon! My toe as a lethal weapon!
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: She felt secure only in her terrible sense of insecurity. She felt secure only in her terrible sense of insecurity.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: That was the first time I experienced the desperate orgiastic pleasure of this form of That was the first time I experienced the desperate orgiastic pleasure of this form of public mourning: it was the one place where people mingled and touched bodies and shared emotions without restraint or guilt. There was a wild, sexually flavored frenzy in the air. Later, when I saw a slogan by Khomeini saying that the Islamic Republic survives through its mourning ceremonies, I could testify to its truth.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: [A] great novel will allow you to transcend the social, racial and political limitations imposed [A] great novel will allow you to transcend the social, racial and political limitations imposed by the vicissitudes of life and to find a deep fraternity based on empathy.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Religion was used as an ideology, as a system of control. When they forced the Religion was used as an ideology, as a system of control. When they forced the veil upon women, they were using it as an instrument of control in the same way that in Mao's China people were wearing Mao jackets and women were not supposed to wear any makeup.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Modern fiction brings out the evil in domestic lives, ordinary relations, people like you and Modern fiction brings out the evil in domestic lives, ordinary relations, people like you and me -- Reader! Bruder! as Humbert said. Evil in Austen, as in most great fiction, lies in the inability to "see" others, hence to empathize with them. What is frightening is that this blindness can exist in the best of us (Eliza Bennet) as well as the worst (Humbert). We are all capable of becoming the blind censor, or imposing our visions and desires on others.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Basically, fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon. In the same way that Hitler evoked a mythological Basically, fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon. In the same way that Hitler evoked a mythological religion of German purity and the glory of the past, the Islamists use religion to evoke emotions and passions in people who have been oppressed for a long time in order to reach their purpose.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The biggest crime in Nabokov's 'Lolita' is imposing your own dream upon someone else's reality. The biggest crime in Nabokov's 'Lolita' is imposing your own dream upon someone else's reality. Humbert Humbert is blind. He doesn't see Lolita's reality. He doesn't see that Lolita should leave. He only sees Lolita as an extension of his own obsession. This is what a totalitarian state does.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: We all had to pay, but not for the crimes we were accused of. There We all had to pay, but not for the crimes we were accused of. There were other scores to settle.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: It's frightening to be free, to have to take responsibility for your decisions. It's frightening to be free, to have to take responsibility for your decisions.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: If I turned towards books, it was because they were the only sanctuary I knew, If I turned towards books, it was because they were the only sanctuary I knew, one I needed in order to survive, to protect some aspect of myself that was now in constant retreat.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: When I left class that day, I did not tell them what I myself was When I left class that day, I did not tell them what I myself was just beginning to discover: how similar our own fate was becoming to Gatsby's. He wanted to fulfill his dream by repeating the past, and in the end he discovered that the past was dead, the present a sham, and there was no future. Was this not similar to our revolution, which had come in the name of our collective past and had wrecked our lives in the name of dream?
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Curiously, the novels we escaped into led us finally to question and prod our own Curiously, the novels we escaped into led us finally to question and prod our own realities, about which we felt so helplessly speechless.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I wish wish I could steal the intricacies of language. But give my kids a I wish wish I could steal the intricacies of language. But give my kids a break - remember, most of them were fed on Steinbeck's The Pearl.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Ourworld in that living room with its window framing my beloved Elburz Mountains became oursanctuary, Our
world in that living room with its window framing my beloved Elburz Mountains became our
sanctuary, our self-contained universe, mocking the reality of black-scarved, timid faces in the city
that sprawled below.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: And so began the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran versus The Great Gatsby And so began the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran versus The Great Gatsby
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention to its soul, to its poetry. I see polarization, reductionism and superficiality.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Poshlust, Nabokov explains, is not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the Poshlust, Nabokov explains, is not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: You need imagination in order to imagine a future that doesn't exist. You need imagination in order to imagine a future that doesn't exist.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: What I am searching for is the gaps - the silences. This is how I What I am searching for is the gaps - the silences. This is how I see the past: as an excavation. You sift through the rubble, pick up one fragment here, another there, label it and record where you found it, noting the time and date of discovery. It is not just the foundations I am looking for but something at once more and less tangible.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Imagine you are walking down a leafy path ... The sun is receding, and you Imagine you are walking down a leafy path ... The sun is receding, and you are walking alone, caressed by the breezy light of the late afternoon. Then suddenly, you feel a large drop on your right arm. Is it raining? You look up. The sky is still deceptively sunny ... seconds later another drop. Then, with the sun still perched in the sky, you are drenched in a shower of rain. This is how memories invade me, abruptly and unexpectedly ...
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The price one pays when choosing exile is the loss of all that defines you The price one pays when choosing exile is the loss of all that defines you as an individual. The only thing that makes this immense loss tolerable is the discovery of a self you did not know existed - of a true independence. That is the real gift of America, not its fabled wealth and prosperity.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: There were many such instances, when expressions of sympathy could not be exchanged. What do There were many such instances, when expressions of sympathy could not be exchanged. What do you say to someone who is telling you about the rape and murder of virgins - I'm sorry, I feel your pain?
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: People would react to books by authors like James and Austen almost on a gut People would react to books by authors like James and Austen almost on a gut level. I think it was not so much the message, because the best authors do not have obvious messages. These authors were disturbing to my students because of their perspectives on life.
More pictures »
Azar Nafisi Sayings: When I first left Iran at the age of 13, Iran had become such a When I first left Iran at the age of 13, Iran had become such a shining star - it was the point to which all my desires and dreams returned.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: There are different forms of seduction, and the kind I have witnessed in Persian dancers There are different forms of seduction, and the kind I have witnessed in Persian dancers is so unique, such a mixture of subtlety and brazenness, I cannot find a Western equivalent to compare it to. I have seen women of vastly different backgrounds take on that same expression: a hazy, lazy, flirtatious look in their eyes ... This sort of seduction is elusive; it is sinewy and tactile. It twists, twirls, winds and unwinds. Hands curl and uncurl while the waist seems to coil and recoil ... It is openly seductive but not surrendering.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The only way to leave the circle, to stop dancing with the jailer, is to The only way to leave the circle, to stop dancing with the jailer, is to find a way to preserve one's individuality, that unique which evades description but differentiates one human being from the other.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I would like to say how much I resent people who say of the Islamic I would like to say how much I resent people who say of the Islamic Republic that this is our culture - as if women like to be stoned to death, or as if they like to be married at the age of nine.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Memories have ways of becoming independent of the reality they evoke. They can soften us Memories have ways of becoming independent of the reality they evoke. They can soften us against those we were deeply hurt by or they can make us resent those we once accepted and loved unconditionally.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: My impulse now, as then, is to disagree. The majority of people in this country My impulse now, as then, is to disagree. The majority of people in this country who haunt bookstores, go to readings and book festivals or simply read in the privacy of their homes are not traumatized exiles.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: We lived in a culture that denied any merit to literary works, considering them important We lived in a culture that denied any merit to literary works, considering them important only when they were handmaidens to something seemingly more urgent
namely ideology. This was a country where all gestures, even the most private, were interpreted in political terms. The colors of my head scarf or my father's tie were symbols of Western decadence and imperialist tendencies. Not wearing a beard, shaking hands with members of the opposite sex, clapping or whistling in public meetings, were likewise considered Western and therefore decadent, part of the plot by imperialists to bring down our culture.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Is it possible to write a reverent novel," said Nassrin, "and to have it be Is it possible to write a reverent novel," said Nassrin, "and to have it be good? ...
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The way we view fiction is a reflection of how we define ourselves as a The way we view fiction is a reflection of how we define ourselves as a nation. Works of the imagination are canaries in the coal mine, the measure by which we can evaluate the health of the rest of society.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I think Islam is in a sense, in crisis. It needs to question and re-question I think Islam is in a sense, in crisis. It needs to question and re-question itself.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: She was one of those people who are irrevocably, incurably honest and therefore both inflexible She was one of those people who are irrevocably, incurably honest and therefore both inflexible and vulnerable at the same time.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Against the onslaught of consumerism, against all the overwhelming siren voices that beckon, our only Against the onslaught of consumerism, against all the overwhelming siren voices that beckon, our only weapon is to exercise our right to choose. And to make the right choices, we need to be able to think, to reflect, to pause, to imagine, because what is being sold to you is not just toothpaste or deodorant or a bathroom fixture, but your next president or representative, your children's future, your way and view of life.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: In the past 30 years, officials of the Iranian regime and its apologists have labeled In the past 30 years, officials of the Iranian regime and its apologists have labeled criticism, especially with regard to women's rights, as anti-Islamic and pro-Western, justifying its brutalities by ascribing them to Islam and Iran's culture.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Other people's sorrows and joys have a way of reminding us of our own; we Other people's sorrows and joys have a way of reminding us of our own; we partly empathize with them because we ask ourselves: What about me? What does that say about my life, my pains, my anguish?
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Unfortunately for governments like that of Iran, when they forbid something, people become more interested. Unfortunately for governments like that of Iran, when they forbid something, people become more interested.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: [A] novel is not moral in the usual sense of the word. It can be [A] novel is not moral in the usual sense of the word. It can be called moral when it shakes us out of our stupor and makes us confront the absolutes we believe in.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Many things change with time, but certain basic human traits remain eternal: curiosity and empathy, Many things change with time, but certain basic human traits remain eternal: curiosity and empathy, the urge to know and the urge to connect.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Resentment had erased all ambiguity in our encounters with people like him; we had been Resentment had erased all ambiguity in our encounters with people like him; we had been polarized into "us" and "them.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: There are so many different forms of silence: the silence that tyrannical states force on There are so many different forms of silence: the silence that tyrannical states force on their citizens, stealing their memories, rewriting their histories, and imposing on them a state-sanctioned identity. Or the silence of witnesses who choose to ignore or not speak the truth, and of victims who at times become complicit in the crimes committed against them. Then there are the silences we indulge in about ourselves, our personal mythologies, the stories we impose upon our real lives.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Fiction was not a panacea, but it did offer us a critical way of appraising Fiction was not a panacea, but it did offer us a critical way of appraising and grasping the world - not just our world but that other world that had become the object of our desires.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: A bad author can take the most moral issue and make you want to just A bad author can take the most moral issue and make you want to just never, ever think about that moral issue.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Only Catherine has the capacity to change and mature, although here...our heroine pays a dear Only Catherine has the capacity to change and mature, although here...our heroine pays a dear price for this change. And she does take a form of revenge on both her father and her suitor: she refuses to give in to them. In the end, she has her triumph.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Those who can afford private schooling need not worry about their children being deprived of Those who can afford private schooling need not worry about their children being deprived of art, music and literature in the classroom: they are more sheltered, for now, from the doctrine of efficiency that has been radically refashioning the public school curriculum.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Most great works of the imagination were meant to make you feel like a stranger Most great works of the imagination were meant to make you feel like a stranger in your own home. The best fiction always forced us to question what we took for granted. It questioned traditions and expectations when they seemed to immutable.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The most important result of the encounter [in the preceding anecdote] is the scholar's startling The most important result of the encounter [in the preceding anecdote] is the scholar's startling discovery of the roundness of the earth ... Instinctively realizing the connection between the foreigner's presence, the roundness of the earth, and future changes and upheavals, he finally announces, Yes, the earth is round, the women will start to think, and as soon as they begin to think, they will become shameless.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Only curiosity about the fate of others, the ability to put ourselves in their shoes, Only curiosity about the fate of others, the ability to put ourselves in their shoes, and the will to enter their world through the magic of imagination, creates this shock of recognition. Without this empathy there can be no genuine dialogue, and we as individuals and nations will remain isolated and alien, segregated and fragmented.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: But perhaps there is another, more personal reason for my disagreement with Ramin: I cannot But perhaps there is another, more personal reason for my disagreement with Ramin: I cannot imagine myself feeling at home in a place that is indifferent to what has become my true home, a land with no borders and few restrictions, which I have taken to calling "the Republic of Imagination." I think of it as Nabokov's "somehow, somewhere" or Alice's backyard, a world that runs parallel to the real one, whose occupants need no passport or documentation. The only requirements for entry are an open mind, a restless desire to know and an indefinable urge to escape the mundane.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: [T]he most difficult part of the fight is not taking aim at the enemy, but [T]he most difficult part of the fight is not taking aim at the enemy, but rejecting his definition of you.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: None of us are as sophisticated in these matters as you think. You know I None of us are as sophisticated in these matters as you think. You know I always feel, with every new person, as if I am starting anew. These things are instinctive. What you need to learn is to lay aside your inhibitions, to go back to your childhood when you played marbles or whatever with boys and never thought anything of it.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Love is love, but there are so many ways of articulating it. Love is love, but there are so many ways of articulating it.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now are the colors of my dreams.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I believe that it is only through empathy, that the pain experienced by an Algerian I believe that it is only through empathy, that the pain experienced by an Algerian woman, a North Korean dissident, a Rwandan child or an Iraqi prisoner, becomes real to me and not just passing news. And it is at times like this when I ask myself, am I prepared - like Huck Finn - to give up Sunday school heaven for the kind of hell that Huck chose?
Azar Nafisi Sayings: What dazzles us in Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra are not the alluring mythologies about the evasive What dazzles us in Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra are not the alluring mythologies about the evasive queen, but the astonishing if rare historical facts that Schiff has meticulously and lovingly excavated. Schiff offers not just Cleopatra's story but the story of an amazing era, one that has vanished but still affects us, questioning the way we look at myth, history, and ourselves.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: So few American novels have happy endings. Perhaps this is not surprising in a nation So few American novels have happy endings. Perhaps this is not surprising in a nation whose declaration of independence provides its citizens not with the right to happiness, but the right to its pursuit.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Putting the pastries onto a large tray, I asked Manna if she envisioned the words Putting the pastries onto a large tray, I asked Manna if she envisioned the words to her poems in colors. Nabokov writes in his autobiography that he and his mother saw the letters of the alphabet in color, I explained. He says of himself that he is a painterly writer.
The Islamic Republic coarsened my taste in colors, Manna said, fingering the discarded leaves of her roses. I want to wear outrageous colors, like shocking pink or tomato red. I feel too greedy for colors to see them in carefully chosen words of poetry.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Those in the west who dismiss the repressiveness of laws against women in countries like Those in the west who dismiss the repressiveness of laws against women in countries like Iran, no matter how benign their intentions, present a condescending view not just of the religion but also of women living in Muslim majority countries, as if the desire for choice and happiness is the monopoly of women in the west.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Well, it's like this: if you're forced into having sex with someone you dislike, you Well, it's like this: if you're forced into having sex with someone you dislike, you make your mind blank - you pretend to be somewhere else, you tend to forget your body, you hate your body. That's what we do here. We are constantly pretending to be somewhere else - we either plan it or dream it.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Well, that was in 1995 when I resigned from my last academic job. Well, that was in 1995 when I resigned from my last academic job.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Going away isn't going to help as much as you think. The memory stays with Going away isn't going to help as much as you think. The memory stays with you, and the stain. It's not something you slough off once you leave.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: You cannot just be stubborn against something, you need to be stubborn for something as You cannot just be stubborn against something, you need to be stubborn for something as well
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Do we consider that anything goes, that we have no responsibility towards others but only Do we consider that anything goes, that we have no responsibility towards others but only for satisfying our needs?
Well, that is the crux of the great novels xxx - the question of doing what is right or what we want to do.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: You don't understand their mentality. They won't accept your resignation because they don't think you You don't understand their mentality. They won't accept your resignation because they don't think you have the right to quit. They are the ones who decide how long you should stay and when you should be dispensed with. More than anything else, it was this arbitrariness that had become unbearable.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: When I walked down the streets, I asked myself, are these my people?, is this When I walked down the streets, I asked myself, are these my people?, is this my hometown, am I who I am?
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The dearer a book was to my heart, the more battered and bruised it became. The dearer a book was to my heart, the more battered and bruised it became.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The truth was that upsilamba was one of Nabokovs fascinating creations, possibly a word he The truth was that upsilamba was one of Nabokovs fascinating creations, possibly a word he invented. I said I associate Upsilamba with the impossible joy of a suspended leap. Yassi, who seemed excited for no particular reason, cried out that she always thought it could be a name of a dance- you know, "C'mon, baby, do the Upsilamba with me". Manna suggested that the word upsilamba evoked the image of small silver fish leaping in and out of a moonlit lake. Nima added in parentheses, Just so you won't forget me, although you have barred me from your class: an upsilamba to you too! For Azin it was a sound, a melody. Mahashid described an image of three girls jumping rope and shouting" Upsilamba" with each leap. For Sanaz, the word was a small African boy's secret magical name. Mitra wasn't sure why the word reminded her of the paradox of a blissful sigh. And for Nassrin it was a magic code that opened the door to a secret cave filled with treasures.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: These people," he had said with his inscrutable smile, "are different from us. They don't These people," he had said with his inscrutable smile, "are different from us. They don't care about books and such things.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Poor reading, like poor writing, is imposing what you already know on texts. You should Poor reading, like poor writing, is imposing what you already know on texts. You should go into reading to discover, not to reaffirm what you know.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: There, in jail, we dreamed of just being outside, free, but when I came out, There, in jail, we dreamed of just being outside, free, but when I came out, I discovered that I missed the solidarity we had in jail, the sense of purpose, the way we tried to share memories and food. She said, More than anything else, I miss the hope. In jail, we had the hope that we might get out, go to college, have fun, go to the movies.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: The class went all right, and the ones after became easier. I was enthusiastic, naive The class went all right, and the ones after became easier. I was enthusiastic, naive and idealistic, and I was in love with my books.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I always had a hankering for the security of impossible dreams. I always had a hankering for the security of impossible dreams.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: He has demonstrated his own weakness: an inability to read a novel on its own He has demonstrated his own weakness: an inability to read a novel on its own terms. All he knows is judgment,
Azar Nafisi Sayings: We envy people like you, and we want to be you; we can't, so we We envy people like you, and we want to be you; we can't, so we destroy you.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Nabokov calls every great novel a fairy tale, I said. Well, I would agree. First, Nabokov calls every great novel a fairy tale, I said. Well, I would agree. First, let me remind you that fairy tales abound with frightening witches who eat children and wicked stepmothers who poison their beautiful stepdaughters and weak fathers who leave their children behind in forests. But the magic comes from the power of good, that force which tells us we need not give in to the limitations and restrictions imposed on us by McFate, as Nabokov called it.
Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairy tale offers you freedoms that reality denies. In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: With fear come the lies and the justifications that, no matter how convincing, lower our With fear come the lies and the justifications that, no matter how convincing, lower our self-esteem.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: As we grown-ups talked and speculated, my five-year-old daughter looked intently out of the window. As we grown-ups talked and speculated, my five-year-old daughter looked intently out of the window. Suddenly she turned around and shouted, "Mommy, Mommy, he is not dead! Women are still wearing their scarves." I always associate Khomeini's death with Negar's simple pronouncement - for she was right: the day women did not wear the scarf in public would be the real day of his death and the end of his revolution. Until then, we would continue to live with him.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: I eat my heart out alone. I eat my heart out alone.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: In his forward to the English edition of Invitation to a Beheading (1959), Nabokov reminds In his forward to the English edition of Invitation to a Beheading (1959), Nabokov reminds the reader that his novel does not offer 'tout pour tous.' Nothing of the kind. 'It is,' he claims, 'a violin in the void.'

[...]

There was something, both in his fiction and in his life, that we instinctively related to and grasped, the possibility of a boundless freedom when all options are taken away. I think that is what drove me to create the class. My main link with the outside world had been the university, and now that I had severed that link, there on the brink of the void, I could invent the violin or be devoured by the void.
Azar Nafisi Sayings: Primo Levi once said, "I write in order to rejoin the community of mankind." Reading Primo Levi once said, "I write in order to rejoin the community of mankind." Reading is a private act, but it joins us across continents and time.