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Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 3, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her new memoir, American-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad) returns to Tehran in 2005 to cover Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election for Time magazine, hoping to make the city her permanent home. Her plans are complicated by the standoff with the U.S. over Iran's nuclear program, as well as several unexpected turns in her life. She falls in love, moves in with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant, gets married—in that order—in a country that has no word for boyfriend and no qualms about brutally beating unmarried pregnant women. Through her own experience, Moaveni reports on the growing apathy of the people of Iran, a society burdened by staggering inflation and tensions between religion, political oppression and secular life, the latter ever more enticing through ubiquitous, illegal satellite television. Gradually, the idealism and religious faith that characterized Moaveni's younger years wane. With the birth of her son, her misgivings come to a head, compounded by the spying, threats and intimidation she experienced at the hands of the Ministry of Intelligence. Moaveni, who now lives in London with her family, has penned a story of coming-of-age in two cultures with a keen eye and a measured tone. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

In this intimate look at the modern Iranian middle class, Moaveni, a journalist and the author of Lipstick Jihad (2005), blends her own experiences in Iran with her primary reporting subject: the dubious Tehran reaction to the ascendance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. An Iranian American living in Lebanon, Moaveni unexpectedly fell in love when she returned to her homeland on assignment. This opened her eyes to a whole new aspect of Iranian life, that of young couples. She writes extensively about how the country’s troubled economic situation forces twenty-somethings to postpone marriage and independence from their families. Iran’s “brain drain” is well documented, but the reasons professionals grudgingly leave Iran have rarely been discussed by Western media, which instead focuses on Ahmadinejad’s rantings. Moaveni tracks the country’s increased social conservatism, and reveals both expensive marriage traditions and governmental manipulation. This perfect blend of political commentary and social observation is an excellent choice for readers interested in going beyond the headlines to gain an in-depth understanding of twenty-first-century Iran. --Colleen Mondor

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140006645X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066452
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Azadeh Moaveni grew up in San Jose and studied politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She won a Fulbright fellowship to Egypt, and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. For three years she worked across the Middle East as a reporter for Time Magazine, before joining the Los Angeles Times to cover the Iraq war. She is the co-writer of Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi's memoir, Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope (Random House: May 2006). She is now a contributing writer on Islamic affairs to Time Magazine. She lives in Tehran.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For the past two years, I've been reading a great deal about the societies, politics, and cultures of contemporary Islamic countries. I admit I've become fascinated by the subject. Therefore, it was with great eagerness that I looked forward to reading Azadeh Moaveni's new memoir, "Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran." The book did not disappoint. When it arrived, I intended to just browse around for a few minutes and then set it aside for reading later when I had more time. But before I knew it, I was almost half-finished. Page after page, I found the book answering so many of the questions I had stockpiled in my brain over the years about contemporary Iran and Iranians. The book was a genuine eye-opener--an intriguing glimpse inside the social and political mind of a nation.

The book is a memoir covering two years in the life of an American-Iranian journalist sent to Iran by Time magazine to cover its politics and culture. The book starts in the late Spring of 2005, when the Iranian presidential elections were in full swing. Over the next two years, the book covers the rise of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the successes and failures of his administration in the eyes of the populace. In the background, and with equal insight into the social and cultural pulse of the nation, Moaveni covers her own personal life. During this period, Moaveni navigates the Islamic cultural minefields of falling in love, moving in with her boyfriend, getting pregnant, and getting married in that order. All the while, she must deal with her creepy and intimidating government "political handler," Mr. X--the man assigned by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence to make sure that Moaveni's political reporting doesn't stray too far into areas that the government might find damaging.
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Format: Hardcover
I was intrigued to be introduced to a place that, realistically, most US media presents in a fearful viewpoint. The author does illustrate with many examples that, as with all cultures, people are very much alike, trying to get ahead in the world making a better life for themselves and their families. But it almost comes across as viewing this behavior as selfish, that Iranians are indifferent to eroding freedoms, yet the author leaves the country for that very reason.

Most of the book is quite easy to read and entertaining, but the viewpoint is exclusively from the privileged upper middle class, almost to the point of bragging when digressing into the details of her wedding. And while the author is a writer for Time, she brushes aside in a couple sentences that speaking to a few people in Tehran purports to represent the views of the entire nation- at least the title of the book does not deceive this fact. At times, the reading gets laborious such as when pages are devoted to the nuances of finding an obstetrician, and yet the process was little different than would be encountered in other developed countries. It was hard to understand the point, and I found myself skipping paragraphs at a time.

In addition, much of the text deals with the author's ambivalence to Islam, again little of which has to do with Iran and simply her own spiritual journey. Interesting perhaps to some, and though she tries to link it with the religious aspects of an Islamic nation as a whole, the connection is weak.

The book as a whole does succeed in opening the door on a nation that most of us scarcely know, but unfortunately the reader must wade through too much mostly unrelated writing to reach it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a truly excellent memoir. If you're looking for a memoir that details the struggles and censorship that modern Iranians (particularly women) are facing, it delivers. It is chock full of complicated patriotism, scathing social observations and balanced political commentary. But if contemporary romance is your thing, it has that too. The novel spans two years as President Ahmadinejad rises to power, and the author meets the love of her life. I won't spoil the ridiculous and creative ways in which she is oppressed and frankly harassed, but to say it isn't easy to start a family in Tehran.

It's obviously well-written, as Moaveni is an accomplished journalist and author. And for me, the best parts of Azadeh Moaveni's Honeymoon in Tehran are when her journalistic approach to her tale slips, and we are treated to her voice as a woman and a mom delivering the story's most powerful moments. Highly recommended!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Honeymoon in Tehran brings life to history I was only vaguely familiar with before. I never truly trust the media spin on international events, wondering what things are really like in faraway places. By weaving her personal narrative into these critical events of our times, Moaveni has helped me I better understand Iran's Muslim and Persian cultures, while letting me by privy to an inside view of how things unfold in a totalitarian state. Excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover
I read Azadeh Moaveni's second memoir with the same pleasure that I got from Lipstick Jihad. Ms. Moaveni is an exceptionally honest writer. She tells the reader precisely who she is, what she is feeling and where she stands. Her story reflects the ambiguity felt by thousands of Iranians who love their culture and their country, but have to put up with the challenges of living in the Islamic Republic. The memoir also provides a rare glimpse into the everyday workings of a Western journalist in Iran, and how social and political conditions shape reporting and work. The book will be a challenge for some, because it requires some previous knowledge of the history and society of the country to fully appreciate Ms. Moaveni's observations.

It is also important to note that, even though Ms. Moaveni tries hard to distance herself from her immediate family situation to present a broad picture of Iranian society, the truth is that she can not really escape from the privilieges that accord to the wealthy and respected family of her husband--things that, for example, allow her to hold a wedding reception with mixed company, serving champagne without government interference. This is exceptionally privileged behavior unavailable to 99% of Iranians (of course, many would not want to hold this kind of celebration anyway). The insights into the rigors of planning a modern wedding in Iran are wonderful in their ethnographic detail.

The book is also exceptionally useful as documentation of the first two years of President Ahmadinejad's term of office. The changes in restrictions on social behavior during this period are a precursor to the disturbances following the Presidential election of 2009.
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