Nafiisi believes democracy can only succeed in conjunction with a fundamental human right to imagination. She demonstrates its value by documenting the deteriorating lives of eight young women she discusses fiction with under the tyrannical regime of Ayatollah Khomeni’s Iran. Western classics are banned and so is the option for young women to imagine a life of joy. “Fiction,” Nafisi says, “is not a panacea, but it did offer us a critical way of appraising and grasping the world — not just our world but that other world that had become the object of our desires.” Like the novels Nafisi uses to develop her memoir, this book grows in power and was worth sticking to. It is the most nuanced and complex view of women under fundamentalist Shia rule of the three that I’ve read. See also Persepolis 1, Persepolis 2, and Guests of the Sheik. May 2006.