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Download My Life as a Traitor: An Iranian Memoir Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample My Life as a Traitor: An Iranian Memoir, by Zarah Ghahramani Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (370 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Zarah Ghahramani Narrator: Marjanne Dorée Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN: 9781482977363
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Zarah Ghahramani was born in Tehran in 1981, two years after Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran to establish the Islamic Republic. Her life changed suddenly in 2001 when, after having taken part in student demonstrations, she was arrested—literally snatched off the street by secret police—and charged with “inciting crimes against the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

While imprisoned in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, she faced brutal interrogation, her head was shaved, and she was beaten. After being released, she was forbidden to return to the university and soon realized that she had no future in her native land.

Robert Hillman, an Australian writer, met and befriended Zarah in Iran in 2003 and helped her to escape to Australia, where she now has permanent residency. My Life as a Traitor is a beautifully written memoir of Zarah’s life in Iran, revealing the human face behind the turmoil of the modern Middle East.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Ghahramani] records, in harrowing detail, the dire consequences of indulging her defiant ‘pink-shoe sensibility’... Ghahramani writes in a spare, eloquent prose style that reflects both her child’s view of the world before arriving at Evin and the pared-down perceptions of her prison experience.”

    New York Times

  • “In Ghahramani’s graceful, chilling memoir, her naïvete gives way to fearless insights about her country and herself. Questioning the status quo made her a traitor to a fundamentalist regime, but in this searingly honest, brave book, she’s nothing short of heroic.”

    People

  • “[Ghahramani] recounts her beatings with dignified anger in this vivid, sometimes horrifying memoir... Her strength: she doesn’t let outrage overtake the striking feminine vitality of her storytelling.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Chilling...Riveting...My Life as a Traitor is compelling for its seemingly unvarnished glimpse at the experiences of an ordinary young woman in post-1979 Iran...The memoir illuminates truths about inflexible and dictatorial regimes.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Married and now living in Australia, Ghahramani has had time to reflect. In this memoir, she does so, evoking both the beauty of her culture and the horror of its regime.”

    New York Daily News

  • “We think something like that could never happen to us. But it happened to Zarah Ghahramani just a few years ago in Iran.”

    Philadelphia  Inquire

  • “Scenes from a happy family life and a spirited adolescence alternate with the prison experiences in this multilayered account…Graphic and powerful as her treatment of torturous imprisonment is, Ghahramani retains an irrepressible lightness... Her straightforward style, elegant in its simplicity, has resonance and appeal beyond a mere record.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Ghahramani’s shockingly honest recollections grimly complement Marina Nemat’s account of her ordeal at Evin in the early 1980s…reminding us of how little has changed for women in Iran.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Narrator Marjanne Dorée speaks in three languages, each appropriate to the context: perfect American English for the author’s words, English with a genuine Farsi accent when Iranians are speaking, and Farsi for Persian names and places. Her linguistic skill brings a picturesque authenticity to each situation. Her gentle and taciturn voice can switch from shocking, when recounting the guards’ profanities, to warm, when describing the author’s mother and father. Ghahramani’s vehicle of placing herself in the milieu of her country’s turmoil creates a colorful self-portrait.”

    AudioFile

  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2008

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonnie | 2/19/2014

    " Wish I could give 1/2 stars. I think this is really 3.5 stars. It is better than 3 stars but not quite 4 stars. It was an interesting, quick read so I rounded up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kendra | 2/14/2014

    " This was a very good memoir about a girl who was thrown in one of the worst prisons in the world, for simply speaking out against her government. It is a thrilling read, even more so because it's a true story. A very fascinating read, especially if you like biography or memoirs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Secor74 | 2/10/2014

    " This was a fascinating and true story about the imprisonment of a young Iranian woman who had particiapated in a protest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krissy | 1/28/2014

    " a painful glimpse into the repercussions of having a different opinion in a country where there is only one acceptable way to think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dalia | 1/17/2014

    " difficult to read through at parts but it gave an interesting glimpse into life inside the current regime. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelley | 1/3/2014

    " I don't know how she survived re-living her experience in order to write this book - incredible courage and strength! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 12/27/2013

    " I'm done with this book, and all I can say is WOW! If you want your eyes opened about how some Iranians are living, dying, and being tortured for speaking out, this is the one to read. Quite disturbing in places. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra D | 11/16/2013

    " I expected to read a compelling, even chilling, story but, in the end, this book failed to move me. Great chunks of it read more like an op-ed than a memoir. It just didn't work for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 10/30/2013

    " I was expecting more from this. It was ok, but had a lot of filler. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anita | 9/16/2013

    " Weird that I like these kind of books. Suspensful. True. Can't remember if there is bad language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chantell Petrell | 7/25/2013

    " Such an excellent read. It got me tearing up within the first 40 pages, which is impressive. I rarely, if ever, cry while reading. I am so very glad that I picked this book up. :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Malou | 11/13/2011

    " I was probably expecting more from this memoir than I initially thought. Although the factual references are an interesting and alarming subject, the writing -- or should I say the narrative voice? - was quite disappointing. I might reread it again when I am in a different frame of mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peze | 9/26/2011

    " Excellent story. Alternatively weaving between her experience in prison in Iran as a political prisoner, and her privileged life before her incarceration, the book gives a tremendous insight into life in Iran after the deposing of the Shah and the reality of life for ordinary citizens. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renae M. | 9/12/2011

    " Very insightful and interesting. Read for school. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Taylor | 6/17/2011

    " This story was eye-opening for me on the culture of the middle-East, and especially women in the middle East. Zarah had a good perspective on the story, but it was very hard for me to follow, and I thought she went off-topic too often. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Malou | 4/7/2011

    " I was probably expecting more from this memoir than I initially thought. Although the factual references are an interesting and alarming subject, the writing -- or should I say the narrative voice? - was quite disappointing. I might reread it again when I am in a different frame of mind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber | 12/31/2010

    " This memoir by a former teenage Iranian prisoner is interesting, but somehow still only scrapes the surface of the real political and social climate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Libby | 12/29/2010

    " Wow! Ghahramani's fictionalized biography is an eye opening read for those of us who have grown up in America. Her story is poignant and powerful, and gives you a whole new appreciation for the plight of individuals living in war torn nations where lawlessness is common. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 10/5/2010

    " I'm done with this book, and all I can say is WOW! If you want your eyes opened about how some Iranians are living, dying, and being tortured for speaking out, this is the one to read. Quite disturbing in places. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 7/30/2010

    " It is a very gripping and heart wrenching story but I just couldn't get into it and stop a quater of the way in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 5/19/2010

    " Great story of survival in one of the worst prisons around, Evin. A good ending too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 5/9/2010

    " Powerful and sad. When you pick up this book prepare to be at the edge of your seat with each turn of the page. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dalia | 3/4/2010

    " difficult to read through at parts but it gave an interesting glimpse into life inside the current regime. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonnie | 12/28/2009

    " Wish I could give 1/2 stars. I think this is really 3.5 stars. It is better than 3 stars but not quite 4 stars. It was an interesting, quick read so I rounded up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Malou | 11/26/2009

    " I was probably expecting more from this memoir than I initially thought. Although the factual references are an interesting and alarming subject, the writing -- or should I say the narrative voice? - was quite disappointing. I might reread it again when I am in a different frame of mind. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Malou | 11/26/2009

    " I was probably expecting more from this memoir than I initially thought. Although the factual references are an interesting and alarming subject, the writing -- or should I say the narrative voice? - was quite disappointing. I might reread it again when I am in a different frame of mind.
    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marcela | 11/11/2009

    " As ironic as it may seem, this story was not engaging at all and didn't invite me to finish. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krissy | 9/4/2009

    " a painful glimpse into the repercussions of having a different opinion in a country where there is only one acceptable way to think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peze | 5/17/2009

    " Excellent story. Alternatively weaving between her experience in prison in Iran as a political prisoner, and her privileged life before her incarceration, the book gives a tremendous insight into life in Iran after the deposing of the Shah and the reality of life for ordinary citizens. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 4/24/2009

    " I really enjoyed this book, however it was a lot more political than I had expected. It is a young girls story about speaking out against justice and being arrested for it in Iran. She spends a total of 30 days in prison, and it's fascinating to see what one can endure with the hope for survival. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 4/10/2009

    " Captivating read! I highly recommend it. "

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