Things I've Been Silent About 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 upheavalthese 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 Nafisis 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 Ive 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 Brontës Jane Eyre and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.