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Azar Nafisi left her home in Iran at 13 to pursue her education, first in Switzerland and England and ultimately in the United States. She returned in 1979 in time to see Iran descend into two versions of hell: the fundamentalist Islamic revolution—which resulted in her being fired from her teaching position at the University of Tehran when she refused to wear the newly required veil—and, later, the devastating eight-year-long war with Iraq. In 1995, stifled by her inability to participate in academic or public life, Nafisi invited seven of her literature students to form a book club to study Western novels in her home. For two years, until Nafisi left Iran for good, the women met every Thursday to discuss Nafisi’s favorite authors: Vladimir Nabokov, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mike Gold. In Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Nafisi interweaves her story of being a modern woman living in a medieval society with memories of the clandestine study group. To its participants, Lolita wasn’t a black comedy about a pervy stepfather, but rather a horrifying parable of “the confiscation of one individual’s life by another.” By expressing their opinions and feelings in Nafisi’s living room, these eight women defended their individuality against a regime that tried to make them interchangeable. Nafisi reads at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 3 (see City List for other dates), at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Janet Hopf)