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Things I've Been Silent About: Memories of a Prodigal Daughter

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3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  2,777 Ratings  ·  419 Reviews
In this stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, Azar Nafisi shares her memories of living in thrall to a powerful and complex mother against the backdrop 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 upheaval—these a ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2008)
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Thabit
Nov 26, 2014 Thabit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
ما رأيته في نفيسي أرعبني، فهي لا تشجع فقط على تبني الحضارة الغربية إنما تؤيد فرضها على المجتمع الإيراني الغارق في ما وصفته بتعاليم البرابرة "العرب" وهجومها المضلل على فترة خلافة عمر بن الخطاب كإثبات لتخلف وتوحش الحضارة العربية "الإسلامية" أمام الحضارة الفارسية بذكرها رواية أمر الخليفة الثاني بحرق أكبر المكتبات الساسانية كون البشر لا يحتاجون إلا للقرآن وهذه الرواية حالها كحال قصة علي بابا والأربعين حرامي "لمراجعة مدى مصداقية رواية حرق المكاتب يرجى قراءة كتاب الفتوحات العربية في روايات المغلوبين" ...more
Terence
Jul 05, 2009 Terence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: A.V. Club book review
Shelves: biography
Anyone hoping to get an inside look at Iran under the Shah and in the immediate aftermath of the revolution or a blow-by-blow account of political survival under dictatorships will be sorely disappointed when they read Nafisi's final sentence and close this book. This is not that book. To be honest, it's not even a particularly Iranian or even Muslim book. What it is, is the intensely personal account of a woman and her relationship to her parents; how it disastrously warped and positively shape ...more
Ebtihal Abuali
Sep 13, 2016 Ebtihal Abuali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memior
هذا الكتاب يجعلني اشعر بتقدير خاص للسير الذاتية النسوية، ويذكرني مباشرة بتلك السيرة الجميلة التي قرأتها لليف أولمن (أتغير) فأهميتها بالنسبة لي تكمن في تلك الافكار والمشاعر والمواقف الخاصة بالمرأة، أهميتها تأتي في أن تقول بأن أحدا خاض كل هذا، وأنه مَر.

سيرة آذر نفيسي هي سيرة علاقتها الشائكة بأمها، منذ طفولتها والى ما بعد هجرتها ووفاة أمها. وصحيح أنها وضعت مجهودا خطيرا في رسم خلفية تاريخية للتحولات السياسية في ايران: صعود البهلويين، المخططات الاصلاحية، الانقلابات والاضطرابات، ثم الثورة الاسلامية وا
...more
Kim

I read Nafisi's best known book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, when it was first published in 2003. While I appreciated the work, it did not leave me with a desire to read anything else by Nafisi. I admired the writing, but I had conceived a dislike for the writer. I cannot easily explain why. However, it seemed to me that there was something unapproachable about Nafisi - an intellectual arrogance, maybe - which made me unable to warm to her.

A few weeks ago I became involved in a discussion about I
...more
Irwan
Aug 08, 2010 Irwan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, 2010
Reading a memoir, at worst, satisfies us the way gossip shows do. We peep into other people’s life and see things similar or different from ours. We take pleasures from mistakes and failures that others do - we learn the lessons or just secretly be thankful that it doesn’t happen to us.

At best, reading a memoir is like being a confidant to a close friend. She opens up her life, her intricate relationship with her parents, and her experience as an individual citizen in the political, religious co
...more
ريم الصالح
ذكريات، هي تماماً ذكريات.
تسترجع آذر نفيسي هنا ذاكرةً طويلة مشحونة بجفاء الأم وحزن الأب،
مشحونة بوطن ينسل من اليد دون أن تقدر على فعل شيء..
في هذا الكتاب تستعيد آذر حالتها المهتاجة تجاه سيطرة أمها، منذ سن الرابعة
منذ أن مُنِعت من تغيير مكان سريرها..

هذا الكتاب يدخلك إلى قلب آذر نفيسي، وأنت لن تشعر بالاندفاع الروحي عند أيّ قلب تدخله طبعاً.
أعني أن الفضول وحده هنا لا يكفي!
إذا كنت تحب آذر فحتماً سيكون ذلك كفيلاً بإبقاء هذا الكتاب بين يديك إلى نهاية الرحلة.

أعتقد أن هذا الكتاب مهم عبر خلقه -لقارئ الأدب ال
...more
Nahid Rachlin
Feb 27, 2009 Nahid Rachlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this better than Reading Lolita. It's more personal and more accurate.
Ahmed Almawali
Jun 06, 2014 Ahmed Almawali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
قليلةٌ هي الكتبُ التي نحزنُ على انتهائها، وهذا الكتاب من بين الكتبِ التي حزنتُ على أنها انتهت. هذا الجمالُ كان يستحق ترجمةً تحسنُ إظهارَ حُسنِ مخزونه الثر ولكن الترجمةَ جاءت أقل من المأمول ومع ذلك فالجمالُ السرديُّ يغطي عن بعضِ العيوبِ، لننظرَ مثلا كلمةَ (خاصتي) ومشتقاتها فيكادُ لا تخلو بضعُ صفحاتٍ منها.
هي مذكراتٌ لأبيها وأمها وايران وتحولاتِها لما يقارب قرنا من الزمنِ أكثرَ من كونها لها، خناقاتُ أبيها وأمها وما رافقه من طموحٍ سياسي سرعان ما تلاشى بسبب السجنِ ثم الثورة، هذه الخناقات جعلت منها آذ
...more
فهد الفهد
أشياء كنت ساكتة عنها

مدفوعاً بذكرى (أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران) كتاب نفيسي السابق الجميل، قرأت هذا الكتاب الذي يفترض به أن يكون سيرة سابقة لعودة نفيسي من أمريكا ومعاناتها مع نظام الملالي، هذه سيرة نفيسي الطفلة والشابة، ذكريات الأم والأب، ذكريات الزواج الأول والثاني، ذكريات المدرسة ومجتمع ما قبل الثورة، ولكن كل هذا البوح والذي يتمدد على ما يزيد على 400 صفحة، ليس له مذاق (أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران)، ليس له خفتها، تركز نفيسي على والدتها – التي ستثير غيظ أي قارئ -، ووالدها محافظ طهران السابق والذي عانى ك
...more
Chris
This book isn't about Iranian politics. It's about an Iranian daughter and her family. This isn't a bad thing. Nafisi is a fasinating woman, and this book, written in chronological sequence, is in many ways a mediation on family which makes it strangely compelling. It is as if you are watching Nafisi walk back thorough her memories.

Yet despite its very personal feel, the book also is a good way to show the differences and similarities of culture. Nafisi family is warped but in much the same way
...more
Stephanie
This is one of those books that I could easily see how someone else could feel differently about when they read it. It is both an autobiography, and a picture of the Iranian political system during a certain point in time.

For me, the family dysfunction on the autobiographical side was difficult to read. This is a family full of the kind of jealousies, back-biting, and petty cruelties which are more painful than enlightening to read about. There is no arch to the story; this family story ends wi
...more
CJ
Mar 11, 2012 CJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
This book took me forever to finish. I'm not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. I remember the Iranian revolution. I was in junior high and high school when the Americans were taken hostage in the embassy and I clearly remember the events as they were happening. I guess I wanted an idea of what it was like from someone who was actually there.

Nafisi is the pampered daughter of two people who were both well connected. Her father was an advisor to the Shah and her mother eventually became pa
...more
Iris
Aug 06, 2011 Iris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, I did not like Reading Lolita in Tehran. I thought the idea was ingenious, perhaps even brilliant, but was quickly strangled by a string of cliche's, which, unfortunately, followed the author throughout her memoir: Things I've Been Silent About.
One almost wishes she had remained silent. The book is self-indulgent (bordering on narcissistic), petulant, and disappointingly unoriginal. A good portion of the book focuses on her relationship with her mother only to end in the anti-climatic: "
...more
ليلى المطوع
عند قراءتك لهذه السيرة عليك ان تجهز نفسك لموجه كبيرة من الملل والحشو والمشاكل العائلية وعلاقة الفتاة المسكينة بأمها المتسلطة، وهذه الفتاة لم تستطع تجاوز محنتها مع والدتها رغم انها اصبحت تمتلك عائلة رائعة ومنصب لابأس به ، ورغم ان والدتها توفت منذ مايزيد عن 10 سنوات الا انها مازالت متحاملة عليها وفي نهاية الكتاب قررت ان تضع لها شكرا ، طيب والقارئ المسكين، المنكد عليه


اغفر لها من اجل بعض المعلومات التي دستها عن الثورة والادباء .كنت اتمنى ان تتحدث عن هذه التفاصيل للقارئ المتشوق لمعرفة ماذا حدث لاير
...more
Mary
Apr 29, 2009 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this makes a good enrichment for her book "Reading Lolita in Tehran". she talks a lot about the reading and her study of literature, and her teaching--but the main thrust of this book is personal--her upbringing in an educated middle-class home, with Islam culturally part of the family's life, but mostly secular. Her family quite dysfuncional, especially her mother, frustrated herself and unable to move beyond it, not realizing how much she traumatized her daughter and the ytounger brother, not ...more
Iowa City Public Library
In Things I’ve Been Silent About, Azar Nafisi writes about growing up in Tehran. Regardless of living in a country that is undergoing revolutionary change, Nafisi’s parents steal the show in this memoir. Her mother, Nezhat Nafisi, although somewhat overbearing, is a complicated person who is living in the past, but ahead of her time as a member of the Iranian parliament. Her father, Ahmad Nafisi, was mayor of Tehran before the Revolution and offers a perspective into the political establishment ...more
Marina Nemat
Jun 17, 2013 Marina Nemat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Things I’ve Been Silent About is the second memoir of Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, which became an international bestseller in 2003. This new book is a collection of memories of Nafisi’s growing up in Tehran as a privileged young girl in an elite family with a complicated, overwhelming mother, who didn’t give her children any personal space, and a charming but sad father, who filled Nafisi’s childhood with stories from the Shahnameh (The Persian Book of Kings) and whose d ...more
Jafar
Mar 14, 2010 Jafar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran, but as I held this book in my hand at the bookstore, I thought to myself, do I really care about this woman enough to read her life story, and does she have an interesting life? I’m skeptical of writers who feel compelled to write their autobiographies without really having anything interesting to say. Even really great writers can write autobiographies that shouldn’t have been written. Nabokov’s was a long yawn. Sartre’s was just absurd and pret ...more
N.
May 26, 2015 N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this memoir to read mainly because the author is Iranian. and I'm naturally attracted to anything related to this part of the world, I mean Iran and Afghanistan. Always curious and intrigued by the complexity of history and contradicted double society there.
The first third of the book was rather disappointing, almost uneventful, full of negative feelings of the author towards her mother, whom I sympathized a lot with seeing her as a sincere and dedicated mother inspite of her flaws and
...more
Stefania T.
Oct 17, 2015 Stefania T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Uno dei poteri della lettura, il lato per così dire "collettivo" della lettura (non in contrapposizione, ma accanto a quelli che sono i suoi tratti di fruizione e beneficio strettamente personali e meravigliosamente egoistici), è quello di connettere sulla mappa geografica culturale ed esistenziale individui fra loro lontanissimi, che mai potrebbero conoscersi e comprendersi e amarsi senza un libro a fare loro da intermediario.

Io non c'entro niente con l'Iran. Non ne conosco la cultura, la stor
...more
Elle
Dec 28, 2014 Elle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really excellent memoir--although take that with a grain of salt, since I don't often read memoirs. That said, I enjoyed it a lot, and found it to be a good introduction to the fifties through the 2000s in Iran, the same way a novel often is to any other time in history. It's incredibly personal, and it holds a very high value as literature. Nafisi's perspectives on family, literature, and politics are all invaluable and articulate. I know that doesn't say very much, but it's very hard ...more
Abrar Alarjan
من المُمكن القول بأنَّ نظرتي لإيران زادت تعقيدًا ، فأنا كنتُ أتوقعُ بأنَّ تكون آذر نفسي أمراة إسلامية شيعية مُتشددة ،وتُتحدث عن شيء من بعض طقوس الشيعية كالمُتعة وغيرها ،لكنني كنتُ أمام امرأة علمانية عائلتها تتذمرُ من النظام الذي حل بعد سقوطُ الشاه بل إنَّها تشربُ النبيذ بلا أية مُبالاة ،لا أُريد هُنا أنَّ أُحدث فوضة مذهبية بين أهل السنة والجماعة ف/موقع Goodreads لا علاقة لَهُ بحربنا الغابرة ،لنتحدث عن كتاب آذر
في البداية شعرتُ بالممل وقمتُ بترك الكتاب منذُ الواحد والعشرين من شهرِ رمضان المبارك و
...more
Jessica Woofter
Feb 21, 2015 Jessica Woofter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I both enjoyed and learned a lot from this book, but I have some beef with the author...it really bothers me when memoirists claim to have great insight into the flaws and illusions of their parents. Perhaps it can be forgiven in young, childless authors (who really shouldn't be writing memoirs anyway), but I think it's a sign of appalling immaturity to do so as an adult and parent. When I was young I knew EVERYTHING, and could have waxed eloquent about how my parents were mistaken about any num ...more
Golriz
May 12, 2012 Golriz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is my cousin.
at first i thought im only interested in this book because it reveals a past that no one in my family cares to speak about-'we dont air our dirty laundry in public'- but then after two chapters i began to see that there is some sort of magic in her way of telling the stories...
Alison
May 26, 2015 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir by Iranian academic and writer Azar Nafisi combines insights into the political and social upheaval of Iran with stories from the writer’s childhood, detailing her troubled relationship with her mother, in particular.
It is a beautifully written book, accessible and interesting. Like most people, my view of Iran is influenced by negative news stories. This book brings to life the real people behind those news reports. Life in Iran has changed so much, especially for its women, and rea
...more
Rahil
Aug 12, 2014 Rahil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
عشقت هذا الكتاب و غرقت فيه
نظرتها التحررية و البيئة العلمانية التي كانت تصبو اليها .. في وسط دولة ثيقراطية إيرانية .
أمها ، أبوها و علاقتها به - التي احسدها عليها - ، حادثة اللمس أو لا أدري ما أسميها مع الآغا في طفولتها ، زواجها الأول الذي انهار بسرعة أخوها ، زواجها الثاني ، علاقاتها السرية ، رحلتها لانجلترا ، زواج أبيها عند الكبر ، أمها و عاداتها قبل وفاتها ، شخصية أمها المعقدة التي تشبه أمي كثيرا ، اختلافها الدائم مع والدتها .. مذكراتها ، كتبها ، فروغ فرخزاد ، حبها للتحرر و رغبتها في أن تقوم د
...more
Briansmom
This woman (the author) is clearly the victim of emotional abuse. It was at times painful to read. The bits about politics in Iran were purely incidental; the main story is the author's mom and her horrible treatment of her children, her husband, her friends, and everyone she comes in contact with. Nafisi's mother seemed to suffer from borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. As educated and erudite as Nafisi is, the idea that mom may have personality disorder/s or be emot ...more
Nicole
Jun 05, 2009 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book and it was AMAZING!!!

Last summer i read ms. nafisi's first memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran. After completing that book i thought I knew so much about this incredible woman's life. I was wrong. She covered a smaller portion of her life in that memoir. That book was specifically aimed at to discuss her experiences during the Iranian Revolution/Iran Iraq war and how it prompted her to take the bold and brave step of teaching students literature in her home secretly. The s
...more
Kathleen Hagen
Things I’ve Been Silent About, by Azar Mafisi, narrated by Maila Azad, produced by Books on Tape, downloaded from audible.com.

In this book, Mafisi tells us more about her actual life. Her previous bestseller, “Reading Lolita in Tehran” described what it was like to teach in Iran especially after the revolution. This second book tells us about Azar growing up in Iran in an unusual family. Her father was mayor of the town but then got on the wrong side of the Shah and was thrown into jail for thre
...more
Siegrist
I have been chipping away at this book Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi - I think I've been reading it for two months! It's a memoir charting her relationships with her mother and father and as much as I was drawn in by its subject - Dad's death last year has left me thinking about parents in our lives - the baldness of it's revelation has left me feeling a little uncomfortable. I'm not sure about the ethics of it all, the laying bare of families for the world! I think this is the pl ...more
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Azar Nafisi, Ph.D. (Persian: آذر نفیسی) (born December 1955) is an Iranian professor and writer who currently resides in the United States.

Nafisi's bestselling book Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books has gained a great deal of public attention and been translated into 32 languages.

More about Azar Nafisi...

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“I no longer believe that we can keep silent. We never really do, mind you. In one way or another we articulate what has happened to us through the kind of people we become.” 62 likes
“The revolution taught me not to be consoled by other people's miseries, not to feel thankful because so many others had suffered more. Pain and loss, like love and joy, are unique and personal; they cannot be modified by comparison to others. ” 17 likes
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