I have a strong interest in Iranian culture (particularly in Persian cinema) and I'd like to visit Tehran and perhaps even live in the Middle East someday—if the political climate simmers down a bit, that is. Hence why I picked up Prisoner of Tehran
at a local Chapters. I was prepared to enjoy the story, but I'm not sure if it really gave me that opportunity.
The story is at times genuinely compelling. The problem is the writing: Nemat is not a particularly inspired author. Her prose is weak and uninteresting. There's an execution described early in the book—by all accounts a horrific, devastating experience. But Nemat writes in an overly simplistic fashion, making it hard to get any idea of what she was feeling in those moments. I understand that there's a language/translation issue and that these events occurred many years ago, but I don't think those excuses ought to be used as a crutch to support Prisoner of Tehran
Two stars may seem harsh, but I really don't think the novel is worth reading in its present form. It needs a good ghostwriter and some serious editing. The story is fine, but the way it's presented leaves a lot to be desired.