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by Shahriar Mandanipour,Sara Khalili

Download Censoring an Iranian Love Story eBook
Shahriar Mandanipour,Sara Khalili
Genre Fiction
Vintage; 58752nd edition (June 1, 2010)
304 pages
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1976 kb
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At its best, Censoring an Iranian Love Story becomes a Kundera-like rumination on philosophy and politics . The innermost layer is the love story between Sara and Dara, whom we don't know if they're completely fictional or based on real characters.

At its best, Censoring an Iranian Love Story becomes a Kundera-like rumination on philosophy and politics playfully investigates the possibilities and limits of storytelling. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "A love story that is convincingly, achingly impossible in a place where men and women cannot even look at each other in public.

Shahriar Mandanipour, Sara Khalili (Translator). Written by an esteemed Iranian author, Shahriar Mandanipour, Censoring an Iranian Love Story is a darkly comic and profoundly touching story that weaves an intricate tale of love between the constraints of contemporary Iranian government and the cultural relationships between men and women there. The story is told by a fictional narrator who is caught between the undeniable urge to write a love story and the story he is allowed to write in accordance with extreme censorship from the government.

Sara khalili, james kimmel, and jane unrue, Without whose faith and fellowship. Writing this novel would not have been possible. I am an Iranian writer tired of writing dark and bitter stories, stories populated by ghosts and dead narrators with predictable endings of death and destruction.

By Shahriar Mandanipour Translated by Sara Khalili. Inventive, darkly comic and profoundly touching, Censoring an Iranian Love Story celebrates both the unquenchable power of the written word and a love that is doomed, glorious, and utterly real. By Shahriar Mandanipour Translated by Sara Khalili. By Shahriar Mandanipour Read by Sunil Malhotra and Naila Azad. About Censoring an Iranian Love Story. In his first novel to appear in English, one of Iran’s most important living fiction writers (The Guardian) shows what it’s like to live and love there today.

In 2009, Mandanipour published Censoring an Iranian Love Story, his first . Translated into English by Sara Khalili, Censoring an Iranian Love Story.

In 2009, Mandanipour published Censoring an Iranian Love Story, his first novel to be translated into English. Ostensibly a tale of romance, the book delves deeply into themes of censorship as the author struggles, in the text, with writing a love story that he'll be able to get past Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance's Office of Censorship. In the novel two narratives are intertwined. Translated into English by Sara Khalili, Censoring an Iranian Love Story was well received by critics worldwide.

As their love story progresses, Mandanipour elucidates the history of censorship in Iran, dating back hundreds of. .

As their love story progresses, Mandanipour elucidates the history of censorship in Iran, dating back hundreds of years to the intricate metaphors and complicated allegories employed by such poets as Rumi, Hafez and Khayam. However, it was only with the Islamic Revolution that censorship became official. In a further complication, Mr Petrovich has gradually fallen in love with Sara while censoring her story, and is now trying to persuade the author to kill Dara off and leave the field open for himself. Censoring an Iranian Love Story is a brilliant novel about the complexities of writing and publishing in Iran.

Электронная книга "Censoring an Iranian Love Story", Shahriar Mandanipour

Электронная книга "Censoring an Iranian Love Story", Shahriar Mandanipour. Эту книгу можно прочитать в Google Play Книгах на компьютере, а также на устройствах Android и iOS. Выделяйте текст, добавляйте закладки и делайте заметки, скачав книгу "Censoring an Iranian Love Story" для чтения в офлайн-режиме.

Shahriar Mandanipour. The boys are sitting on the seats up front, and the girls are occupying the seats in the back of the classroom. The professor is discussing a poem by the poet who died six hundred years ago. The boys are sitting on the seats up front, and the girls are occupying the seats in the back of the classroom pects the backs of the boys’ heads one by one and selects the one that resembles Dara’s head to look at. A week has passed since the night when she went as far as the perilous frontier of Dara’s house, and during this time she has neither replied to his e-mails nor answered his nightly phone calls.

Shahriar Mandanipour, in his first major work to be translated into English, tells a story of love, secrecy, jealousy, and political danger while simultaneously walking the reader through the difficulties of obtaining a publishing permit in Iran

Shahriar Mandanipour, in his first major work to be translated into English, tells a story of love, secrecy, jealousy, and political danger while simultaneously walking the reader through the difficulties of obtaining a publishing permit in Iran. If a story even hints of sexuality or improper behavior, it has little to no chance of reaching the reading public without severe alteration. But these days, with all my being, as a will and last testament, I want to write a bright love story in which there is no sorrow, no one dies, no hearts suffer, not even the tip of a pencil breaks.

In his first novel to appear in English, “one of Iran's most important living fiction writers” (The Guardian) shows what it’s like to live and love there today. In a country where mere proximity between a man and a woman may be the prologue to deadly sin, where illicit passion is punished by imprisonment, or even death, telling that most redemptive of human narratives becomes the greatest literary challenge. If conducting a love affair in modern Iran is not a simple undertaking, then telling the story of that love may be even more difficult.  Shahriar Mandanipour (author of Moon Brow) evokes a pair of young lovers who find each other—despite surreal persecution and repressive parents—through coded messages and internet chat rooms; and triumphantly their story entwines with an account of their creator’s struggle. Inventive, darkly comic and profoundly touching, Censoring an Iranian Love Story celebrates both the unquenchable power of the written word and a love that is doomed, glorious, and utterly real.
  • Hinewen
Shahriar Mandanipour’s Censoring an Iranian Love Story (2009, Translated by Sara Khalili) is one of the strangest and most interesting books I read. You see, I always had a thing for Persian culture, but being an Egyptian today I know it is almost impossible to be able to witness its greatness through my own two eyes. So when I found Censoring an Iranian Love Story, it was like a treasure to me, hoping it would give me an idea about the modern-day Iran without having to visit! So let me tell you a thing or two about this book.

The Story

As Raha Namy puts it in the Quarterly Conversation, Censoring an Iranian Love Story is a multi-layered story. This - more than slightly - surreal tale tries to give numerous details about the Iranian culture and censorship in a mix of real and fictional story layers that continuously intersect, sometimes confusing between what is real and what is fictional, making it hard for the non-Iranian reader to build a real idea about Iran.

Layer 1

The innermost layer is the love story between Sara and Dara, whom we don't know if they're completely fictional or based on real characters. Sara is senior student in the University of Tahran studying Iranian Literature, coming from a middle class family that falls behind by the year as a result of the increased inflation that is not met by an increase in her father's pension. She seems normal, but has a revolutionary soul. However, being in a country with very tight limits to freedom of speech, this revolutionary soul is mostly seen in the dark, away from the government's and the "Campaign Against Social Corruption's" eyes. Sara is an avid reader and so has a membership in the local library, this is where Dara first finds her.

Dara too used to be a student in Tahran University studying cinema, he was about to graduate before he got detained for being a communist. When he was finally freed after two years, he found out that he was expelled. Dara's family too used to be middle class, but has already fallen far behind as result of the father and son's detentions for being communists. This has led to the father losing his job, as well as his will to live, and the son being unable to find a decent job as a result of losing his almost acquired university degree. Oppression has turned Dara into a passive, defeated person, but one who still loves his country with all his heart.

There are also two secondary characters of the story. The first is Mr. Sindbad, Sara's suitor who has a story of his own. Mr. Sindbad came from a very poor family, but was able to fight his way into a government job. He was never into politics and wanted nothing more than the stability that would help him lead the simple life he's living. After the Islamic Revolution, however, he found out that this won't be possible, and that if he wants to continue to live at all, then he'd have to learn to be somewhat a hypocrite. Thus, by hypocrisy and brilliant ideas, he became one of the most powerful and richest businessmen in the country. The other is Dr. Farahad, one of the country's most famous surgeons, who is loved and respected and sees poor clients for free. Dr. Farahad appears a few times in the story in very different and confusing settings.

Sara is first introduced to the reader holding an interesting sign in a student protest; it has "DEATH TO DICTATORSHIP, DEATH TO FREEDOM" written on it, she's only a few minutes away from her death. But at last minute, Dara finds her and begs her to abandon the sign and leave with him. This is after one year of exchanging letters through a code they used in library books. When they finally get to the dating stage of their relationship, they have to think of places to meet so that they won't get caught (according to the author women and men who are not direct kin can get arrested if found together). So they meet in a hospital's emergency room, a mosque, an internet cafe and keep their relationship mostly online.

Layer 2

Comes after this, the layer where the author and the censor work together in writing the story. We're introduced to Mr. Petrovich, who works in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and has the responsibility of revising all books prior to giving a publishing permit. In this layer the author sometimes acts like a god to his characters, telling them what to do and what not to do. Mr. Petrovich, on the other hand acts like a divil, trying to ruin the beauty of the love story thorough wanting to change the storyline or sending other characters in the story. At other times we find the characters working their own destiny and deciding what to do for themselves, despite the author's and censor's intentions.

The writer always thinks of what Mr. Petrovich would say and so we'd find him sometimes striking out his own words, because Mr. Petrovich wouldn't give the book a publishing permit otherwise. He also sometimes has to give more details about his love story characters in this layer, because they're details that the censor won't approve. Thus, he gives his readers an idea of how Iranian love stories may lose their depth as a result of censorship.

The layer between Mandanipour and Mr. Petrovich is a story in itself, but to make matters more complicated, there is sometimes an intermingling between Layer 1 and Layer 2's characters that sometimes turn so surreal that you wouldn't know what to get out of it.

Layer 3

In this layer we find popular fictional and non-fictional characters from other literary works and real life coming to the story to give symbolic descriptions. There's the hunchback midget's corpse that keeps appearing in different places to different people. Then ghosts of other writers. Then an Assassin's phantom. Then poets who died some hundred years ago. These characters are mostly symbolic, and this is where surrealism reaches its peek, making it sometimes weak and thus very hard to grasp what the author is trying to tell with his symbols.

One interesting, yet one may argue clichéd, use of characters is how the author used Nizami's poem, Khorsow and Shirin. This poem is about a love triangle between a king (Khorsow), a Romanian woman (Shirin) and a poor man (Farahad). Shirin ends up marrying Khorsow and they make sweet love. When Sara and Dara met in the emergency room, they meet a bride named Shirin who was raped by her groom, who is also called Khorsow, and she is saved by Dr. Farahad.

Layer 4

The outermost layer is where the author finally writes in non-fictional, first-person. He explains different aspects in the Iranian culture and different types of censorship. He tells stories of his own experiences and gives summaries of Iranian classics that are mostly used for symbols. This layer was almost always my favorite. It is here that the author talks of self censorship that was used by poets hundreds of years ago. During that time, they used to use similes from nature in describing a woman's body or a love making scene. He thus explains that censorship sometimes helps get the imagination going.

Then he goes on to explain government censorship today, and how they have power (and dirty mind) to sexualize everything. But that's not all, there is all the social censorship, where girls are not allowed to have boyfriends, or to talk to boys they're unrelated to for that matter. With all these levels of censorship, it become impossible to write, or even live, a real love story in Iran.

Overall Critique

The book as a whole was more than anything confusing, with the never-ending intermingling between fact and fiction, as well as the different story layers. There is depth in the protagonists of the main story, but the elaboration on them is mostly cut through to discuss other things. The love story is extremely weak, but one may argue that this is exactly the writer's point; you cannot write a love story in that sociocultural setting. I, however, have sometimes felt exaggerations in the extent to which Iranian couples can't be together. The fact that this book, being published in 2009, and does not have one mention of cell phones makes me wonder. Same with Iranians being unable to watch movies and listen to music. What happened to VPN? I know from living in a country where censorship does exist (although far from that extreme, in some cases at least) that people always find ways out. What with Iran and Saudi Arabia (and Egypt, too) being among the countries with highest online pornography consumption (according to unofficial lists). Yes, literary works sometimes need to reach extremes to be more interesting, but again, not separating fact from fiction makes this problematic.

While I generally don't mind surrealism, in some parts of the book I felt that it's too much, making the reader actually miss the story itself. The symbols all through the story were sometimes clichéd and other times too much to take. As for the writing itself, it was far from creative. In fact, it mostly felt like you had the writer sitting in your living room telling you the story.

Without really getting into politics, the author actually got into politics. We see how revolutionaries like Dara were defeated and are now busy just trying to live. We see how even those who were "good" Islamists were abolished from the political scene and had turned into brothel visitors. We see how hypocrisy in modern-day Iran can lead to reaching the top of the ladder. We see how Iran wanted to enrich uranium while its citizens are suffering from increased poverty by the year. Most importantly, we see how women, throughout different eras in Iran were oppressed and sexualized, be it under dictatorships or so-called freedom. We see that revolutionaries did nothing when women were forced to cover up their bodies and spirits, when they have been treated as a shame. We also get into the sociocultural aspects of marriage and relationships in Iran. We see how marriage is the families' decisions more than the bride and groom's. We see how every relationship has to happen in the dark, we see how one of the main deal makers or breakers vis-à-vis marriage in Iran is money and social class. Mind you, these are all the author's opinions, I know nothing about modern-day Iran.

Egypt and Iran: enemies that are so much alike

I know nothing of modern-day Iran, but I know a lot about Egypt and the similarities are striking. Although Egypt and Iran's diplomatic ties have become at least not so strong following the Islamic Revolutions, and although some religious fanatics in both countries see us the other as enemies or infidels, for following different Islamic sects (Egypt is mostly Sunni and Iran is mostly S***e), both being middle eastern countries, one can't help see the similarities. Both Egypt and Iran are countries of great civilizations that have been great, and are not anymore. Both countries were once so modern, but have become something else as religious fanatics took over people's minds. When Islamists managed to take power in Egypt for a short period, there was talk of closing shops at 11:00 pm in a country that never sleeps, just like what happens in Iran. People started to talk about a "Campaign Against Social Corruption", just like that of Iran. Women were very much sexualized, just like Iran. Thankfully, the Islamist rule in Egypt lasted only a year, but there are still a lot of sociocultural similarities between Iran and Egypt. Some Egyptian families still wouldn't want their daughters to have boyfriends, marriage is still the decision of families, sociocultural and governmental censorships exist, sexualization and sexual discrimination exist. But most importantly, both Egyptians and Iranians can't help sticking their nose in other people's businesses.

There are also similarities between what happened right after the Egyptian and Iranian Revolutions, but I won't get into that too; if you go back and read layer 1 you'll get what I mean. My point is this, being someone who hasn't visited Iran, and would probably not be able to visit any time soon, I can't say that this author's idea of Iran is correct. But the similarities between us and this author's idea of them, makes me feel that he might be correct, and that one may build an opinion based on some of his. It also made me think of how sad it is, how similar we are, yet we're enemies.
  • Aria
In this unconventional novel, the passages in bold print are the love story that the author is attempting to write. His sense of humor is evident from the start as the girl and boy in love are named Sara and Dara after the characters in the first-grade Iranian primer. This bold-text story is presumably what the author intends to submit to the censor at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Some parts are crossed out, although still readable. These are the parts that the author assumes would never be approved by the censor. Part of the fun of the book is reading these deleted passages. For example, Sara is hiding under the sheets in her room having a computer chat with Dara. The words “under the sheets” are crossed out.

The majority of the book is in standard print. These passages have various functions. Quite often it is the author looking up from his Sara and Dara story and talking directly to the reader. He might make a witty comment on what he has just written: “Contrary to this idiotic sentence that can only come from the pen of a writer who has been chewed to the bone by censorship ….” Once he asks the reader to delete the whole chapter he has just written. Often he proposes alternative versions of the story that are more detailed and realistic than anything a censor would approve. And sometimes he adds background information that would never get past the censor.

In the most fascinating of these comments to the reader, the author refers to Sara and Dara as real people who have minds of their own and are not completely under his control: “I sometimes think Sara sneaks peeks at the sentences I write about Dara and his thoughts.” Another time he says, “Sara raises her hand to slap his face. I grab her wrist.” Of Dara he says, “I have tried to dissuade Dara from what he is planning, but I have been no match for him.” And Dara complains to the author of his story, “You shouldn’t have written me like this. You shouldn’t have written me as browbeaten and pathetic.”

Sometimes the author asks the reader for advice: “What do you think we can do to help Dr. Farhad?” And at times he asks the reader for help: “Just push your hand down on the horn of Dr. Farhad’s car.” These devices are supported by passing reference to literary theories, including those of Roland Barthes, who believed that in the best fiction the author’s intention is irrelevant to the story. The appearance of ghosts or shadowy characters in the story is supported by reference to authors such as Hawthorne, Gogol, Kafka, and others.

Of course, references to Iranian literature pervade the novel, too. Nezami’s Khosrow and Shirin stands as a comment, explanation, and contrast to the story of Sara and Dara. The author often inserts background information on Iranian literature, history, or culture—always in an amusing way.

The witty tone of the novel persists even in its condemnation of censorship, which is presented with a balanced understanding that might be surprising. He shows that Iranian writers have always been subject to censorship, whether that endured by the ghost-poet who appears from time to time in the novel (presumably Hafez) or by modern writers like Sadeq Hedayat. He presents the censor of his novel as perhaps misguided and foolish yet sincere and interested in literature as well as protecting the morals of the public. Mr. Petrovich—he’s named after the detective in Crime and Punishment—actually becomes a somewhat sympathetic character in the story.

Mandanipour’s novel shows how life for all Iranians changed with the revolution. But just as his presentation of censorship avoids bitterness, he describes life in the Islamic Republic as oppressive yet perhaps not worse than oppressions suffered throughout Iran’s history under invasions by Mongols, Arabs, and others. The novel’s wry humor shows what it takes to survive.