This is a book review of the Iranian culture. It attempts to bring to focus the way of life in culture, politics, as well as the social aspect of the people of the Republic of Iran. This aspect of life is compared to the “real life” by the other world. It aims at acquiring the real aspect of life that brings out what the Iranian culture really is as brought out differently in the two books.

In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran

Christopher de Bellaigue, in his book In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, looks into the impact of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. In the subtitle “A memoir of Iran” de Bellaigue’s path in Iran leads him through the confusing Tehran traffic jams to the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, the graveyard of the Iranians who passed away in the 10 year stretched war with Saddam Hussein from Iraq (Bellaigue, 2005). The author was really concerned as to why the Iranians never smiled. In his journey across Iran he remembers seeing photographs of several Iranians crying and most of them putting on black attires. According to Iranian culture, it is taken up to be a coarse and inappropriate behavior.  This ideology is created upon the public desire for a man which the country created mostly on men who passed away several years back. The person in question is Hossein who is a renowned martyr recognized for his bravery that was a refuge for most people.

The author, who is in Tehran, has witnessed the ceaseless sorrow amongst the Iranians for the Imam. His presence amongst the Iranians leads him to believing that the people living in this part of the world really do enjoy mourning. A case in instance is that the Iranians mourn on a sweet-scented spring day as they watch birds and also while making love. This was the same case five decades ago before the coming into being of the Islamic Republic and will remain for several years to come.

The mourning brings back the memories of Christian penitents of the middle periods, where they were pulling crosses and they were being whipped in the process. In the present world, there is self-whipping and the carrying of heavy objects like huge tabernacles to portray and bring out their closeness to their religion. The Iranians weep for their leader with much closeness. It is as though they enjoy the regret and by that, they are to live longer.

In his experience in Iran, the author states that he sees Hossein’s picture in almost all parts of the country: in freeways, walls of buildings, shops, petrol stations, and in cloths. Talking to the women about the death of Hossein brought out clearly what value the person has been accredited. The elderly woman gave her part of the story as though she had been there, she made her anguish known in every word she spoke. Hossein’s family was explained as though she was part of the family. She did cry throughout (Bellaigue, 2005).

Hossein is taken up by the Iranians as a person who holds a significant part of their lives. The death of this great martyr brought out clearly that their lives have come to a standstill and will never be the same. This is brought out clearly from the black dressing that they are accustomed to and the sadness that they are oriented to while remembering their departed martyr in addition to the belief that laughter is a behavior that is not of good conformity with what they believe in. It is simply a culture that is tagged along the past and has no sense of humor.

Honeymoon in Tehran

In the book by Azadeh Moaveni, Honeymoon in Tehran, the writer visited Iran attributing the journey to be quite exciting and occupied by eager. In her arrival to Iran, the treatment she was issued was less abusive as compared to before. The city of Mehrabad was filled with people who are very excited and who passed joyous pleasantries to their kings, attributed with a sweet smell of perfume mixed together with sweat (Moaveni, 2009). This brings out how exiting Iran and the people who live there are. They enjoy each other’s company and can even pass laughs. The author brings out Tehran in the Iranian community as a place where people rush back to join together with their family members. No form of sadness is portrayed but a place where everyone is rushing back to. People who travelled to America or even further for their studies went back with their degrees to Tehran, Iran, in order to get married and put to wok their skills and experience.

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The revolution that took place in 1979 did for one bring down the hopes of the author’s family, leading them to go back to America. This was together with other Iranians who were looking for ways to move away from the uprising. This led them to staying for years without going back to Iran. But as the author grew up, she made a trip to Iran to meet the new Iran. In the trip, she met quite interesting news relating to Islam and democracy that was being transformed in Iran. It revealed the expectancy of the country and capability to offer more. Interest drove the author to be involved in several activities like teaching and reporting on the events in Iran.

In traversing the town, there was Shah Monument built to remember the anniversary of Persian Empire. Most of the things in Iran took up the name of empire as opposed to a martyr. The rides were brought out to be quite memorable and exciting. The author, being young and filled with the desire of excitement, found the place to be quite dazzling in the best way possible since it offered the best memories one would want: musicians played nice music in the stars until dawn. The people were quite friendly and well educated about the past and the present.

The Islamic republic instilled loyalty of the Iranians by the use of subsidies, affordable interest loans, and social autonomy. The excitement was part of the past time; the author was able to dance in loud music as other Iranians did, who made it their time to enjoy themselves in the Thursday nights, which was a day for the youth of Tehran.

The author and who also acquired the profession of a journalist was invited to dinner for the discussion of the coming election. The desire to see a successful election was part of the discussion and support was offered to her to ensure that proper journalism was practiced.

Comparison of the In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran and Honeymoon in Tehran

The two books In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran written by Christopher de Bellaigue and the other one Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni clearly bring out the contrast of the Iranian community. From Christopher de Bellaigue’s book, the community is brought out as being too dull and strict on the society’s matters. Laughter was considered to be a shameful act, let alone it being not accepted, it never coincided with the cultural norms. Contrastingly, Azadeh Moaveni’s book showed a community that is filled with excitement and friendliness. The laughter and entertainment were allowed let alone a day set out for entertainment, Thursday was the youth’s day (Bellaigue, 2005).

onsidering that both books bring out a strong attachment to their past, Christopher de Bellaigue brought out a community that was too attached to their martyr, Hossein, who was held highly and respected, his pictures, monuments, and stories about him were quite numerous and brought a general feeling of sadness. The memoirs that people had were majorly of Hossein; and a sad one was considering the encounter that the author had come across with the elderly woman. While in the book Honeymoon in Tehran, during the author’s journey, she came across monuments in Shah that resembled the 25 years of anniversary of the country. The contrast was that the aspect of sadness was not brought out as it is in Christopher’s book.

The authors both traversed their respective communities and reported varied views of what the communities they found. The people found in Christopher’s book were dressed in black attires, which brought out the feeling of sadness; those people were frequently reported to be crying. This brought the feeling of the lack of humor and quite uncomfortable place to stay. While in Azadeh’s book, the author brought out the feeling of a friendly community where several Iranians and other foreigners travelled to come to Iran to create families and rebuild the country (Bellaigue, 2005).

After the revolution in Azadeh, most people in the community escaped to other countries, the author went back to report about the transformation that the country has acquired after the revolution. The community is brought out to be quite friendly and better living in. The government offered the community a better environment to conduct business by offering them subsidies and small interest loans. This friendliness cut across the author/journalist who was offered a platform for the discussion of the election over dinner.


The book on Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni brought out a clearer picture of the community. The author, Azadeh in her book, was able to go back to the environment that was deserted after the revolution. She brought out the community that was quite friendly and had shared laughter with themselves and other people from foreign countries. Though the community is still plagued by conformity to their culture and norms, they are presently brought out to be friendly and humorous. The city, people, and institutions are a clear view of what the society is about. 

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