> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409067085
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Things I've Been Silent About


From the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran comes this brilliant memoir of a mother, a daughter, a family.

Azar Nafisi, author of the international bestseller 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 - these and other threads are woven together in this beautiful memoir.

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.Nafisi's father escaped into narratives of another kind, enchanting his children with classic tales like the Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings.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.

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 the many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79.It is, finally, a deeply personal reflection on women's choices, and how Azar Nafisi found the inspiration for a different kind of life.This unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland is a stunning book that readers will embrace, a new triumph from an author who is a modern master of the memoir.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409067085
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

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.


Also by Azar Nafisi

See all

Praise for Things I've Been Silent About

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.


This powerful memoir, from the author of the global hit Reading Lolita in Tehran, is a bewitching story of Azar's relationship with her brilliant, beautiful, romanticising and fictionalising mother. Set against the background of change before the Islamic Revolution, it is a complex, provocative story of family life, lies and loves - and of a desire to work out the past.

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.

Waterstones Books Quarterly

[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. [It] may be read by some for its historic context. Others will be intrigued by what it says about the condition of women in the Islamic republic. To me, it was above all, a touching portrait of a troubled childhood in a family torn apart by a seductive father and an overbearing mother...But as the narrative unfolds against a complex and at times tragic political background, it is a political statement on Iran's modern history as much as a personal attempt to come to terms with a past by unravelling its secrets.

Financial Times