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  • Published: 1 April 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099487128
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

Things I've Been Silent About


A dazzling new memoir from the author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran

In Azar Nafisi's personal story of growing up in Iran, she shares her memories of a life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country’s political revolution.

Nafisi’s intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerising fictions about herself, her family, and her past. But her daughter soon learned that these narratives of triumph hid as much as they revealed. When her father began to see 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.

Things I’ve Been Silent About is also a powerful historical picture of a family that spans the many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79. This unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland is a new triumph from a modern master of the memoir.

  • Published: 1 April 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099487128
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi is a visiting professor and the executive director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She has taught Western literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and the University of Allameh Tabatabai in Iran. In 1981 she was expelled from the University of Tehran after refusing to wear the veil. In 1994 she won a teaching fellowship from Oxford University, and in 1997 she and her family left Iran for America. She is the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I’ve Been Silent About, and 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. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.


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Praise for Things I've Been Silent About

Things I've Been Silent About transports us to a world that is at once enchanting and threatening; it is a tale that mixes family feuds, politics and literature and holds our interest from the first to the last page.

Financial Times

A beautiful and sensitive book... [Nafisi's] belief in the power of culture to transform lives and societies is inspiring

The Times

A companion memoir to the bestselling Reading Lolita in Tehran, this is Azar Nafisi's more personal account of growing up in Iran...an intriguing memoir


Nafisi's account is rarely shrill or self pitying, preferring to let her stories tell themselves.

Aamer Hussein, The Independent

This powerful memoir, from the author of the global hit Reading Lolita in Tehran, is a bewitching story... Set against the background of change before the Islamic Revolution, it is a complex, provocative story of family life, lies and loves.

Good Housekeeping

Nafisi proves a compelling, and moving, witness

New Statesman

If you enjoyed the wonderful Reading Lolita in Tehran by this author, you have another treat in store... it offers wonderful insights

Waterstones Books Quarterly

Nafisi is eloquent and expressive.

Zena Alkayat, Time Out

In her new book Nafisi...once again blends the autobiographical and the political to write about the Iran of the past 80 years...Nafisi, who has proven her political mettle by standing against both the Shad's and the Ayatollah's regimes, confronts her "inner censors" in this account of the life of a dysfunctional family in revolutionary times. She used the story of her intellectually and politically prominent family as the "backdrop" to the turbulent history of 20th century Iran, a country trying to come to terms with modernity while remaining true to both its Islamic and imperial histories...Nafisi's vivid snapshots of life in pre-revolutionary Iran among the intellectual and political elite, with constant streams of social gatherings and endless political chatter and gossip, brings back to life a cultural milieu that largely disappeared with the 1979 Islamic revolution...[and] the personal is skilfully interwoven with the social and political.

Maria Baghramian, Irish Times

This is a poignant memoir: part therapy, part chronicle.

Jack Carrigan, Catholic Herald

Things I've Been Silent About is a kind of companion volume to Nafisi's 2003 memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran...giving us finely etched portraits of her tempestuous authoritarian mother, and her doting, unassertive father, who was a mayor Tehran under the Shah.

Michiko Katkutani, Scotland on Sunday

a portrait of a family and a country that are at once alluring and deeply dysfunctional.


[a] beautifully written memoir

Financial Times

A gifted storyteller with a mastery of Western literature, Nafisi knows how to use language both to settle scores and to seduce. Her family secrets pour forth in a flood of revelations of anger, humiliation and deceit.

The New York Times

An utterly memorable book.

Guardian Weekly

All readers should read it.

Margaret Atwood


Susan Sontag

This is a remarkable insight into a fascinating period of history, and a touching portrait of astonishing tenacity and integrity in the face of adversity that few in the Western world could imagine.

Good Book Guide

...a balanced, lucid narrative; a rich, complex account of this crucial part of Iranian history


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