IRANIAN RAPPERS AND PERSIAN PORN by Jamie Maslin

IRANIAN RAPPERS AND PERSIAN PORN

A Hitchhiker’s Adventures in the New Iran

KIRKUS REVIEW

After quitting his job, open-minded author Maslin loaded a backpack and hitched to Iran, where he spent nine weeks debunking Western misconceptions.

Travel narratives often conclude that preconceived notions about exotic lands are often absurdly erroneous, a grand tradition that Maslin’s debut enthusiastically perpetuates. Unsatisfied with life in a cubicle, the author decided to take a sojourn to Iran, despite warnings and admonitions from friends who, under the influence of Western media, denigrate the country as little more than a safe haven for terrorists. Casting aside those prejudices upon entering the country, he quickly discovered that, rather than being hated, he received the royal treatment from nearly everyone he met. So enthusiastically welcoming were the residents, in fact, that they generously purchased food and drinks, offered their beds and provided recommendations for and transportation to places of historical interest. The unexpectedly universal hospitality was accompanied by widespread disdain among the people for politicians ranging from the former ruling Shah and current President Ahmadinejad to George Bush and Tony Blair. Conversely, Irish pop singer Chris de Burgh, one of the only non-Iranian artists sanctioned by the government, is revered. Maslin provides a balanced blend of social commentary—including discussions of the role the United States and Britain played in manipulating the Iranian government, and younger Iranians’ fascination with Western culture, including rap music and pornography—and travel guidance, including notes on various bazaars, historical sights and churches). Occasionally the author’s good-natured attempts at humor veer off track and transform his well-meaning hosts into stereotypically crazy foreign caricatures worthy of Sacha Baron Cohen.

Too devoted to the conventions of travelogues past, but offers an unexpectedly enlightening introduction to an unfairly misunderstood country and culture.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60239-791-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2009