Friday, April 27

"Honeymoon in Purdah"

A book review:

Subtitle: An Iranian Journey
Author: Alison Wearing
Publisher: Picador
Date: 2000

I haven't finished this book yet, but I hope to tonight. The first time I picked it up, I read 50 pages without stopping. It is a fascinating look into daily life in Iran, and small character studies of the Iranian people, as seen through the eyes of a Canadian woman who travelled all over the country with a gay man, whom she passed off as her husband. A woman cannot travel there with a man who is not her husband, hence the deception.

She is telling why she made five trips to Yugoslavia, during the war......."I refused to believe that such a place of unalloyed evil truly existed, that that was the end of the story. I went because I believed that there had to be more. And because I like to look for saints where there are said to be demons. Iran became our destination for the same reason."

This book is humorous, poignant, and informative; the humor comes mostly when she is reporting things said to her in butchered or partial English. Asked if she wants Pipi Zam Zam with her meal, she doesn't understand and,
....."asks him to repeat himself. He wets his mouth, closes his eyes and speaks again, this time more slowly.
"You. Want. Pipi. Zam. Zam?"
It is sheer curiosity that makes me say yes.
"In Canada, Coca-cola", Turtle Man explains as he fills my glass. "In Iran, Pipi Zam Zam."

I was constantly struck with the hospitality shown this couple by the common people they encountered in their travels. Nearly everyone they met wanted to feed and entertain them, or provide accomodations or transportation. They did have a few problems with some of zealots, but they were not threatening in nature, just inclined to delay their progress. Most everyone was surprised to hear that this couple had come to Iran for their honeymoon, but all wanted to show them the real Iran.
I have learned by reading this book, and I have been highly entertained while learning. What more can you ask of a book?

23 comments:

Babette said...

Very nice book review, Judy! Is there anything you can't do well?!

Sorry to hear about the puppies not working out. We are looking for a puppy just now, too.

Kay Dennison said...

This sounds interesting, Judy!!!! I think I'll be looking for it! Thanks!

Queen of Light and Joy said...

I love reading, like LURVE reading. I also love it when someone loves a book enough to recommend it to everyone else. I am going to look for this book.
And I bet Michele will look for it to. *wink*

mar said...

Sounds like a very enjoyable book, thanks for the tip!

utenzi said...

I hadn't heard of that book before, Judy. It sounds quite interesting.

Carolyn said...

I remember hearing about it on The Today Show (I think) back then, and had it on my list to read. Thanks for reminding me of it as I never picked up a copy :)

MareDog said...

There's nothing I like more than a book recommendation. Just went and ordered a used one from amazon. Thanks.

Maria said...

This sounds great. I have a stack of books to read at the moment, but I think I will try Amazon and have it sent my way. Can you imagine living in a town so small that it only has a used book store?Yikes!

Shephard said...

I'd like a Diet Pipi Zam Zam, please.

This review makes me want to read the book, just to de-vilify the people in my own mind.
~S

kenju said...

I hope those of you who buy the book enjoy it as much as I did!

craziequeen said...

I felt this way about Wild Swans - I learnt about China and enjoyed the book.....

cq
Michele sent me to say hi, Judy.

sage said...

good review, the books sounds interesting and maybe will go on my long list of books to read

PI said...

Judy : how do you find time to do all you do and read books? I can hardly get through the papers. We used to escape to our cottage and I would read six books a week. I do miss curling up with a good book.
Michele says hi!

Thumper said...

Pipi Zam Zam is now going to be stuck in my head...

Diane Mandy said...

Can't ask for much more. Thanks to your review, I'm putting this on my list of must reads.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Boy, this is really interesting. I think I had some Zam Zam once. I think it was made in Canada.

D.O.M. Dan said...

Sounds like a good one; thanks for the tip.

Hello, Michelle sent me.

Claude said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll put it on my to-read list.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Sounds like a very interesting book, Judy...I have been having trouble reading lately...I just can't seem to get into any book...Well, I am hoping that will pass! (lol)

Karen said...

Judy I read this book and I agree! I LOVED it!! I too was struck by the unimaginable kindnesses this "couple" encountered. In fact, it should almost be a travel guide for the area.

Just stopping by on a sleepy Saturday morning. Hugs!

Awareness said...

those are the best reads, I think. I'm reading a novel entitled, Gospel. It is fiction, but the settings are very real, as is the constant references to the Bible. I'm learning more about the Gospels than I ever have just reading them without some historical context.

Awareness said...

I have heard of this book.....and will search it out. :)

Anil P said...

That's a nice review.