Rich, absorbing, and exotic--City of Lies travels up and down Vali Asr Street, Tehran's pulsing thoroughfare, from the lavish shopping malls of Tajrish through the smog that lingers over the alleyways and bazaars of the city's southern districts. Ramita Navai gives voice to ordinary Iranians forced to live extraordinary lives: the porn star, the aging socialite, the assassin and enemy of the state who ends up working for the Republic, the dutiful housewife who files for divorce, and the old-time thug running a gambling den. In today's Tehran, intrigues abound and survival depends on an intricate network of falsehoods: mullahs visit prostitutes, local mosques train barely pubescent boys in crowd control tactics, and cosmetic surgeons promise to restore girls' virginity. Navai paints an intimate portrait of those discreet recesses in a city where the difference between modesty and profanity, loyalty and betrayal, hor and disgrace is often more than the believability of a lie.
Ramita Navai is a British-Iranian foreign affairs journalist who has reported from over thirty countries including South Sudan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, El Salvador, and Zimbabwe. She has made twenty documentaries for Channel 4's series, Unreported World, and she was awarded an EMMY for her undercover report from Syria for PBS Frontline. She has also worked as a journalist for the United Nations in Pakistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Iran, and was the Tehran correspondent for The Times from 2003 to 2006.