Subtitle: An Iranian Journey
Author: Alison Wearing
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?