Things I've Been Silent About

Things I've Been Silent About


Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2008
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9781400063611
Branch Call Number: 955.05092 Nafis
Characteristics: xxi, 336 p. : ill


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 17, 2018

I enjoyed this book. It is a good combination of story of the author's family and the background political situation. I think I would prefer to know a little less about her mother's behaviour, but obviously she was the person who had the strongest, albeit almost indirect, influence on the author.

Sep 11, 2017

I enjoyed reading this book a lot. The author is very brave in revealing her conflicting emotions toward her parents, especially with her mother. Being quite ignorant of Iranian history, it is also interesting and educational for me to read about how Iranians got rid of the Shah, whom they thought to be a dictatorial leader, only to have a much more oppressive government by Khomeini. Just like the Chinese overthrowing the Nationlist Party rule to welcome the much worse Communist Party.

Jul 27, 2012

This memoir is by the daughter of the mayor of Tehran under the Shah. Her mother was an MP. It is politically naive. It describes her relationship with her mother, but not with insight.

Mar 22, 2010

I enjoyed this memoir, as I enjoyed "Reading Lolita in Tehran". like many other Iranian families, my mom was tough in our childhood, and although I really love her, somehow the hidden anger I felt towards her, made me feel uncomfortable at times.
after reading this book, i can face this problem easier, and feel stronger relationship with her. I understand the reason for the ways she treated us, her kids, was for our better future to her best knowledge.

I also recommend this book as a very good reference for Iran, and what happened in this land from early 1900s to present under the reign of Khomeini's followers. (I strongly believe Iran's theocracy dictatorship has nothing to do with Islam).

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WPL

To Top