Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi
Memories

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Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains a Things I've Been Silent About discussion guide.

In this stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, Azar Nafisi shares her memories of living in thrall to a powerful and complex mother against the backdrop 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 upheaval—these and other threads are woven together in this beautiful memoir as a gifted storyteller once again transforms the way we see the world and “reminds us of why we read in the first place” (Newsday).

 

About Azar Nafisi

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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 is the author of Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov's Novels. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.
 
Published December 15, 2008 by Random House. 370 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Things I've Been Silent About

Kirkus Reviews

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An account of growing up under a chilly, tyrannical parent in a changing Iran, by the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003).

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The New York Times

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In her deeply felt new memoir the Iranian-born author Azar Nafisi writes: “After the Islamic Revolution, I used to joke that we had prepared ourselves for a time like this by living with Mother.

Feb 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

The New York Times

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Victims can feel guilty, she writes, both because they keep silent and because they feel “some vague sense of sexual pleasure out of an act that is imposed and feels reprehensible.” Nafisi deeply missed her father when she and her family moved to the United States, but did not initiate contact w...

Jan 02 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

The Guardian

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Things I've Been Silent About: Memories of a Prodigal Daughter by Azar Nafisi Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Following the success o...

Jan 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

The Guardian

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A patrician contempt for what politics may be about for "the masses" sits comfortably enough with her assurances that the great thing about literature is that it is "useless", and that though she and her group of students "skipped back and forth between our lives and novels", literature and the r...

Apr 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

AV Club

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The guiding premise behind Azar Nafisi's memoir Reading Lolita In Tehran, a bestseller and particular book-club favorite for its incorporation of Western classics like Daisy Miller and The Great Gatsby, is that literature ought not to be kept a secret.

Jan 22 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

Entertainment Weekly

Before she wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran — part literary criticism, part searing chronicle of daily life in revolution-era Iran — Azar Nafisi was a lonely upper-class girl with a shrill, difficult mother, a charming, unreliable father, and a distant relative who sexually abused her.

Dec 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

The Independent

Early in Azar Nafisi's memoir, she discovers that her father's autobiography has been shorn, for publication, of all intimate revelation.

Apr 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

Christian Science Monitor

Both, seems to be the answer of Azar Nafisi in her new memoir, Things I’ve Been Silent About.Nafisi is the author of the 2003 sensation “Reading Lolita in Tehran.” You might not expect a book combining literary analysis with accounts of life in the Islamic Republic of Iran to become a global best...

Jan 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

USA Today

Readers entranced by Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, her 2003 memoir about literature and intellectual freedom in Iran, will be equally fascinated by her new memoir, Things I've Been Silent About: Memories.Like Reading Lolita, Nafisi's new book is about her beloved homeland and the impact...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Over and over, Nafisi sees the fault lines of Iranian society reflected in her own unquiet family, particularly the furious, tormented, and tormenting Nezhat.

Jan 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

A second thing that really amazed me as I was writing this book is how many of the facts in your life have to be deleted in order to write a memoir, because you can't write about everything.

Jan 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

London Review of Books

In Austen’s novels, there are spaces for oppositions that do not need to eliminate each other in order to exist … All we needed was to read and appreciate the cacophony of voices to understand its democratic imperative.’ Just as Nafisi’s book group would look at Elizabeth Bennet and Catherine Ear...

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Bookmarks Magazine

The Topic: Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Azar Nafisi maintained a list in her journal titled "Things I’ve been silent about."

Dec 14 2008 | Read Full Review of Things I've Been Silent About...

Oprah.com

With dispassionate intelligence, Nafisi explores her troubled relationship with her difficult, remarkable mother, who became a member of the Iranian parliament, and with her loving father, whose career as mayor of Tehran was cut short by the false accusations that earned him a prison term during ...

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