© 2021
background_fid.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Literature and Lullabies from the 'Axis of Evil'

Literature from the "Axis of Evil", gathers short stories and poems from three countries that once received that label from President Bush -- Iraq, North Korea and Iran. Additional material in the collection comes from Syria, Cuba, Sudan and Libya.

Steve Inskeep speaks about the book with Azar Nafisi, an Iranian-born writer, whose own works include Reading Lolita in Tehran. She says that writing can offer insights into a country that aren't part of the official government line.

"The governments might be considered quote unquote the enemy, but definitely not the people," Nafisi says. "These stories and poems offer an alternate view, which is very different from the politicized and polarized view of these nations."

She says that Iranian writers, for example, use a subtle approach to criticize their own government.

"Because subtlety is in fact a way of resistance -- the brutal obviousness of an authoritarian state. [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] is very obvious... but these writers are subtle because they are trying to also shape the mind of the readers" with nuance and playfulness.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.