The Republic of Imagination Summary and Reviews

The Republic of Imagination

America in Three Books

by Azar Nafisi

The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi X
The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi
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  • Published Oct 2014
    352 pages
    Genre: Other

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Book Summary

Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In this exhilarating followup, Nafisi has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling, and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society. What Reading Lolita in Tehran was for Iran, The Republic of Imagination is for America.

Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her in Seattle, where a skeptical reader told her that Americans don't care about books the way they did back in Iran, she energetically responds to those who say fiction has nothing to teach us. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite American novels - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Babbitt, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, among others - she invites us to join her as citizens of her "Republic of Imagination," a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Nafisi explores the influence fiction has had on life in America, where literature, while not outlawed, is endangered... Her opening tribute to the power of literature segues into revelatory close readings of the three novels she selected, after much deliberation, as salient expressions of the American spirit, specifically our restlessness, 'unending questioning,' and perpetual sense of outsiderness." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Readers may rediscover classic books or see them in a new light through Nafisi's critique. The topic and approachability of this work will likely give it a broad readership." - Library Journal

"Her social critique is scarcely original: most readers have heard that the downside of American freedom is American greed, that politicians are demagogues, and that American media is polarized. Through accessible and informative readings, however, Nafisi succeeds in conveying her broader point - that Great American Novels can teach us to be good "citizen readers." - Publishers Weekly

"A literary study that derives its emotional power from Nafisi's personal story and relationship." - Kirkus

This information about The Republic of Imagination was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Azar Nafisi Author Biography

Azar Nafisi is an Iranian writer and professor of English literature. She won a fellowship from Oxford and taught English literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and Allameh Tabatabai University in Iran. She was expelled from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the veil and left Iran for America in 1997.

She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New Republic and has appeared on countless radio and television programs.

She is most famous for her memoirs, particularly Reading Lolita in Tehran. She is also the author of Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov's Novels, Things I've Been Silent About (2008), The Republic of Imagination (2014) and a children's book, BiBi and the Green Voice. She ...

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  • Reading Lolita In Tehran jacket
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