This poignant memoir from Nafisi, a professor of literature who teaches at Johns Hopkins University, is sure to resonate with readers. A native of Iran, Nafisi left the country to attend university, then returned to become a teacher in Tehran. When she resigned from her school because of its repressive atmosphere, she formed a group with some of her best female students, and they began a secret study of Western literature. The meetings quickly became an outlet for political and personal debate, as the women shared stories of love, marriage and persecution under the Iranian government. Blending their personal anecdotes with wonderful evaluations of the work of Vladimir Nabokov, Jane Austen and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others, Nafisi's book is a fascinating portrait of the female experience in modern-day Iran and a testament to the redemptive power of literature a luxury most of us take for granted. A reading group guide is included in the book.

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