Things I've Been Silent About: Book summary and reviews of Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi

Things I've Been Silent About

Memories

By Azar Nafisi

Things I've Been Silent About
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

Azar Nafisi, author of the beloved international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, now gives us a stunning personal story of growing up in a family in Iran, moving memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and difficult mother, against the background of Iran during a time of revolution and change. A young girl's pain over family secrets and a mother's lost life, 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–these and other threads are woven together in this beautiful memoir, as a gifted storyteller once again uses her own life to transform the way we see the world and "reminds us of why we read in the first place" (Newsday).

Azar Nafisi’s intelligent and complex mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerizing fictions about herself, the past, her rich first husband who died at a young age, and her own family. As she talked to her children, she would disappear into these family stories, narratives of triumph that hid as much as they revealed. Nafisi's father escaped into narratives of another kind – into the classic talks of Persian literature – telling his beloved daughter of the great heroes and heroines in Shahnamah, the Persian Book of Kings, and in other Persian classics. As her father began a series of love affairs, his daughter began to lie to her mother about her father's infidelities, and about other events women were supposed to be silent about. Nafisi's complicity in these childhood dramas ultimately led her to resist remaining silent about political, cultural, social, and personal injustices.

Part detective story and part portrait of an exceptional woman, marriage, and mother-father-daughter struggle, Things I’ve Been Silent About is also a deeply personal reflection on women's choices, and on how Azar Nafisi found inspiration for a different kind of woman's life, first in stories by Persian writers and then in stories by Western writers, such as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The calm candor with which she narrates her experiences .... will resonate with readers everywhere." - Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week.

"Starred Review. Nafisi's dramatic and cathartic account of her difficult childhood, doomed first marriage, and political awakening glimmer with vivid and telling memories of Tehran ..." - Booklist.

"Watching Nafisi grow from a child to a mother and a writer shows how her family's story is really her own." - Library Journal.

"... lacks the sharp focus of her first [but] offers a searching account of one woman's life against the tumultuous historical backdrop of 20th-century Iran. Rating: B." - Entertainment Weekly.

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Rosie Campos
Awesome Book
I think this book was great in that you can really picture her whole life, the struggles she went through, and Iran. I recommend this book because it is interesting to learn about how people live and what their life is like in another country. Touching ending, by the way :)

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Author Information

Azar Nafisi Author Biography

Azar Nafisi is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. She won a fellowship from Oxford and taught English literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and Allameh Tabatabai University in Iran. She was expelled from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the veil and left Iran for America in 1997. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New Republic and has appeared on countless radio and television programs.

Most famous for her memoirs, particularly Reading Lolita in Tehran, she is also the author of Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov’s Novels and a children's book, BiBi and the Green Voice. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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