Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > Things I've Been Silent About: Memories

Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi
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May 26, 2009

bookshelves: 2009-nonfiction, 2009-audio-books
Read in February, 2009

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 three years until he could be cleared. While that was going on, Azar’s mother was a seated member of Parliament, one of only four or five women so seated. Her parents had a strange marriage with her mother being a very strong and volatile woman, and her father giving up and having affairs. Azar’s first marriage was more or less arranged by her family. She was pressured into it, but when it didn’t work, her parents supported her divorce. Azar taught in Iran. She also went to the U.S. and studied in graduate school, plus taught there. At first, Azar and her husband welcomed the revolution and thought it would do away with the monarchy and bring more freedom. They, and all their friends were disillusioned when Iran became a religious state. She spoke of the getting together of groups of intelligentsia to watch western movies, listen to western music, discuss both western and eastern literature, all despite being prohibited from doing so by the government. Finally, she and her husband decided they would have to leave Iran. It wasn’t politically safe for them to be there. She had to leave both her parents behind, knowing she probably wouldn’t see them again. This is a very moving book about family dynamics so complex that she could never tell either of her parents how much she loved them and appreciated the talents she got from them. Writing this book after their deaths was the way she could come to grips with her own feelings. The narrator rendered her voice very credibly. Strongly recommended.
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