In Azar Nafisi's personal story of growing up in Iran, she shares her memories of a life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country's political revolution.
Nafisi's intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerising fictions about herself, her family, and her past. But her daughter soon learned that these narratives of triumph hid as much as they revealed. When her father began to see 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.
Things I've Been Silent About is also a powerful historical picture of a family that spans the many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79. This unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland is a new triumph from a modern master of the memoir.
Azar Nafisi is a visiting professor and the director of the Dialogue Project at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University. 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 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 programmes. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two children.