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About the book
  • Published: 1 April 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099487128
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $29.99

Things I've Been Silent About



In her bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi opened her world to us, offering a vibrant portrait of women’s lives in Iran.

In this stunning new book, Nafisi returns to Iran and her childhood to deliver an exquisite and moving portrait of a family’s life, a life lived in thrall to Nafisi’s powerful mother. She describes the mesmerizing fictions she created about herself, her past, and her family.

Part detective story and part portrait of an exceptional marriage and mother-daughter struggle, it is also a deeply personal reflection on women’s choices, and on how Azar Nafisi found inspiration for a different kind of life in the stories of women in The Persian Book of Kings. Writing of the women who came to her mother’s coffee salons, Nafisi explores the perverse effects of society’s restrictions, in things everyone knew but were silent about.

In this wonderful book, a gifted storyteller once again uses her own life to transform the way we see the world, and remin

  • Pub date: 1 April 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099487128
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $29.99

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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