Megan Harlan
January 05, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Honeymoon in Purdah

Current Status
In Season
Alison Wearing

We gave it an A-

During her five-month journey through Iran, Canadian journalist Wearing donned a flowing black polyester chador, traveled by public bus, and pretended that she and her friend Ian were on their honeymoon so they could share hotel rooms. Thanks to Wearing’s stamina and subterfuge, she gained rare access to the private lives of contemporary Iranians, from a charming opium dealer to a bright girl eligible for marriage at age 9. Though they do stumble across a ”Death to America” parade, the Canadians are more typically besieged by Persians’ unparalleled hospitality — as when Wearing faints on a sidewalk from heat stroke and a passing couple whisks her hundreds of miles away to a cooling oasis. What Wearing’s Honeymoon lacks in romance, it makes up for in humor, adventure, and insight. A-

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