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Summary

I started making a list in my diary entitled Things I Have Been Silent About. Under it I wrote: Falling in Love in Tehran. Going to Parties in Tehran. Watching the Marx Brothers in Tehran. Reading Lolita in Tehran. I wrote about repressive laws and executions, about public and political abominations. Eventually I drifted into writing about private betrayals, implicating myself and those close to me in ways I had never imagined. From Things I Have Been Silent About...

Azar Nafisi, author of the beloved international best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran, now gives us a stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country's political revolution. A girl's pain over family secrets; a young woman's discovery of the power of sensuality in literature; the price a family pays for freedom in a country beset by political upheaval.

Nafisi's intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerizing fictions about herself, her family, and her past. But her daughter soon learned that these narratives of triumph hid as much as they revealed. Nafisi's father escaped into narratives of another kind, enchanting his children with the classic tales like the Shahnamah, the Persian Book of Kings. When her father started seeing other women, young Azar began to keep his secrets from her mother. Nafisi's complicity in these childhood dramas ultimately led her to resist remaining silent about other personal, as well as political, cultural, and social, injustices.

Reaching back in time to reflect on other generations in the Nafisi family, Things I've Been Silent About is also a powerful historical portrait of a family that spans many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79, which turned Azar Nafisi's beloved Iran into a religious dictatorship. Writing of her...

©2008 Azar Nafisi (P)2008 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Absorbing...a testament to the ways in which narrative truth-telling - from the greatest works of literature to the most intimate family stories - sustains and strengthens us.” (O: The Oprah Magazine)

“A gifted storyteller with a mastery of Western literature, Nafisi knows how to use language both to settle scores and to seduce.” (New York Times Book Review)

“An immensely rewarding and beautifully written act of courage, by turns amusing, tender and obsessively dogged.” (Kirkus Reviews [starred review]) 

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  • Darina
  • 23-12-18

A memoir

This book is exactly what it says it is - a memoir, a diary. It’s very personal but through love-hate relationship with parents, through stories of loss and love it describes a very strange and scary time for a beautiful country.
Besides, the reading is very good (envy Mrs Nafisi's students even more now!).
However the book may be difficult to read, because it's too private and doesn’t really feel like "literature", like a novelization of life (as "Lolita in Tehran" do) but more like a confession with a bit of moralization.