Virago £11.99 (247pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Tehran, Lipstick and Loopholes, By Nahal Tajadod
Friday 12 March 2010
Nahal Tajadod, an Iranian academic visiting relatives in Tehran, needs to return to her husband, the screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, in her adoptive homeland of France post-haste, but her Iranian passport needs renewal.
So begins a journey through Iran's bureaucratic quagmire (more absurdist than Kafkaesque). Her endeavour is used as a narrative device which takes the reader on a Picaresque journey through modern-day Iran, a place that has changed drastically since the Revolution yet retains bizarre inconsistencies; a woman's image cannot be publicly displayed but a young girl's sexualised photo can; the state enforced headscarf is offset by a boom in nose jobs and (illegally) dyed hair. Tajadod's exasperated, yet non-condemnatory tone is most refreshing.
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