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3.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 5 3.68 (37 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Azar Nafisi Narrator: Naila Azad Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2008 ISBN: 9781415958261
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I started making a list in my diary entitled “Things I Have Been Silent About.” Under it I wrote: “Falling in Love in Tehran. Going to Parties in Tehran. Watching the Marx Brothers in Tehran. Reading Lolita in Tehran.” I wrote about repressive laws and executions, about public and political abominations. Eventually I drifted into writing about private betrayals, implicating myself and those close to me in ways I had never imagined.
--From Things I Have Been Silent About


Azar Nafisi, author of the beloved 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, 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).

Nafisi’s intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerizing 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 the classic tales like the Shahnamah, the Persian Book of Kings. When her father started seeing 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 many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79, which turned Azar Nafisi’s beloved Iran into a religious dictatorship. Writing of her mother’s historic term in Parliament, even while her father, once mayor of Tehran, was in jail, Nafisi explores the remarkable “coffee hours” her mother presided over, where at first women came together to gossip, to tell fortunes, and to give silent acknowledgment of things never spoken about, and which then evolved into gatherings where men and women would meet to openly discuss the unfolding revolution.

Things I’ve Been Silent About is, finally, a deeply personal reflection on women’s choices, and on 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.








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Quotes & Awards

  • Absorbing . . . a testament to the ways in which narrative truth-telling—from the greatest works of literature to the most intimate family stories—sustains and strengthens us. O: The Oprah Magazine
  • Deeply felt . . . an affecting account of a family’s struggle. New York Times
      
  • A gifted storyteller with a mastery of Western literature, Nafisi knows how to use language both to settle scores and to seduce. New York Times Book Review
  • An immensely rewarding and beautifully written act of courage, by turns amusing, tender and obsessively dogged. Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • A lyrical, often wrenching memoir. People

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ilaria | 1/30/2014

    " even better than "reading lolita in teheran". "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ali | 1/20/2014

    " Interesting memoir, but personal. Expected more social commentary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cmd | 1/9/2014

    " This was an honest and moving portrayal of Nafisi's family relationships and her life in Iran. The fraught relationship with her mother, while affected by the frustrations of growing up in the twin dictatorships of the Shah and the Mullahs, could be transposed in any family. It was also interesting to see Iranian contemorary from a personal perspective. This has been explored before, notably in the "Persepolis" books, but this gives new views and nuances. The only drawback is a find Nafisi could get lost in monologues on her beloved literature; However many of these were very interesting, and I do not think this is a major flaw.I listened to this book, and would highly reccomend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorinde De Tempe | 1/6/2014

    " As this book is much more personal than her former one, although as beautifully written, it took me more effort to get through. Especially her complaining about her mother sometimes annoyed me. Still it is worth to read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mindy Danylak | 1/1/2014

    " i looked forward to the publication of this book from the moment i heard about it and was not disappointed. i'll keep returning to it again many times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Revital Shiri-Horowitz | 12/23/2013

    " Done reading, this book touched my heart, I just did not want it to be finished. Nafisi takes us, readers through her life journey, and we learn about History facts too. It was very touching to see the daughter-mother relationship. I highly recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Salsadancer | 12/22/2013

    " Personal story of growing up in Iran against a backdrop of Iranian history from 1909 - 2004. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 12/6/2013

    " This book resonated with me on a number of levels and was very hard for me to read. It makes it hard for me to rate it properly as I can't say that I really liked it which is what the 4 stars indicates but it really had an impact on me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie Patton | 12/3/2013

    " this book captivated me. yep. it did. her story...her connection to the written and spoken word. words words words. stories and how they influence all we do and say. how we are the stories, just re-told. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 11/27/2013

    " Impressive woman and an impressive family, plus interesting to hear her memoirs as related to Iranian history. However it was a little choppy and it seemed like the real main character was her mother. still, it was worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 6/4/2013

    " Beginning was great, but for some odd reason, I could not get into her "story" after the middle of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rilla | 2/7/2013

    " Nafisi's memoir of her parents and her relationship with each, during a very turbulent time in Iran. The family dynamics are universal and timeless, but in this context all the more poignant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah | 1/31/2013

    " Not as compelling a book as Reading Lolita in Tehran A Memoir in Books, but worthwhile reading, especially for us with conflicted relationships with our deceased mothers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 12/18/2012

    " An eloquent revelation about the micro and macrocosm of family and country for Iranians. Parts of it were quite foreign to me, the American, but I understood all too well the embattled mother-daughter relationship in Nafisi's life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail | 11/4/2012

    " This is a personal story about growing up in with a troubled family life, but since it is set in Iran and since the author's father was a mayor of Tehran, it is necessarily also political. Thoughtful and well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 10/26/2012

    " Most interesting book. Loved the autobiographical detail, local history, introduction to Iranian literatory figures, and insight into Iranian society. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 8/8/2012

    " I don't know if it is my current state of mind, or the fact that I find it difficult to follow along and enjoy her writing style, but I could not get through this book, and I enjoy reading nonfiction. It's back on the library shelf now! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shama | 5/16/2012

    " Great read. This book doubles as an autobiography and an overview of Iran's progress - and subsequent regress - in the 20th century. Compelling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dana | 4/8/2012

    " Interesting look into what it was like to grow up in Iran prior and during the Revolution. Sad that so much of Persian culture seemingly has been lost. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Olga Shumylo-Tapiola | 12/17/2011

    " This book got me interested in Iran and its people "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 9/14/2011

    " i started listeniing to this book on tape but realized I just have toooo many books on my plate and have to back off it for now. I think I am on chapter 2 or 3. I hope I'll get back to it some time as I enjoyed reading her book "Reading Lolita in Tehran". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ms.Caprioli | 9/9/2011

    " Not as unified a narrative as Reading Lolita, it is still a nice read, giving a personal perspective of recent Iranian history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stowe | 9/4/2011

    " I enjoyed reading this personal history of the author. A different view of Iranian history that I haven't put much thought into and yet dealing with women's rights issues that I do think about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dfmorris | 6/27/2011

    " This time an Iranian writer and memoir. A fascinating look at another culture. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellie | 5/24/2011

    " I did not finish this book.....perhaps because I had pre-conceived notions about the book and they turned out to be incorret. It's possible that I had another book in mind.....but whatever the reason I found myself not enjoying it.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elyse | 5/11/2011

    " Azar Nafisi is someone who showed true mettle as she faced many difficulties in her life. This is her personal story of growing up in Iran. She talks about the political difficulties she faces with her refusal to wear the veil as well as deep-seated family difficulties. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 4/13/2011

    " I liked Reading Lolita in Tehran better, but it was ok. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sunni | 4/5/2011

    " Outstanding! One of the best books that I have ever read regarding Iranian culture.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jen8998 | 3/13/2011

    " Nafisi explores her intense relationship with her capricious mother and idealistic father. It's a fascinating portrait of a family and the Iranian revolution. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemary | 2/6/2011

    " I listened to this one on a long drive. It was a well-told, intriguing story that explained many things in "Reading Lolita..." Probably a better book to listen to than to read (for me, at least). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 1/30/2011

    " While the writing style is not the most compelling, the story itself is. Again, for me it is a book that is great bibliotherapy as well as extremely informative and enlightening on the Persian revolution during the 1970's. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mauras | 1/22/2011

    " Great. Beautiful writing, very interesting story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toula | 1/10/2011

    " A very well written account about a life in Iran..... Nafisi was a young woman who became a professor of English Lit in Iran! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hajer | 1/8/2011

    " I like this book.It's far more better than "Reading Lolita in Tehran",which I dropped every time I tried to read it.This one is more personal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katy | 1/4/2011

    " Amazing story of family struggles linked with social struggles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/2/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. I liked the history of the author's family intertwined with the political history of Iran (by no means comprehensive). I did think it meandered a bit, focusing too much on the author's mother's "quirks." But it was a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Watashi | 12/19/2010

    " It is alright. Some key stories interested me, but it didn't capture me as much as her previous book. "

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About the Author
Author Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi is a professor at John Hopkins University. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal among others. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and two children.