Tehran, Lipstick and Loopholes, By Nahal Tajadod

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

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.