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Things I've Been Silent About: Memories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, December 30, 2008


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400063612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063611
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nafisi follows up the internationally acclaimed Reading Lolita in Tehran with another memoir, concentrating this time on her unhappy family life. Her mother was vocally nostalgic for her first marriage to a man who died two years after their wedding day, while her father sought the company of other women—not so much for sexual excitement as for emotional stability. Nafisi's parents' relationship was so off-kilter that when her father, the mayor of Tehran, was accused of plotting against the shah and thrown into jail, one of his main hopes was that it would finally reconcile them. Nafisi grew up determined to become the woman [my mother] claimed she had wanted to be, but an adolescent education in England and an impulsive first marriage (followed by college in the U.S.) did not bring the happiness she sought. The calm candor with which she narrates her experiences, from childhood sexual abuse to a frightening confrontation when her second husband argues with a religious zealot over her unscarved hair, provides a solid emotional anchor—and the intimate drama at her memoir's core, the conflicting frustration with a parent and the desire for connection, is one that will resonate with readers everywhere. (Jan. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Family history is almost always messy. When tangled up with revolution, it can get downright chaotic. That Things I've Been Silent About is a less-focused effort than Nafisi's first book, then, is unsurprising. The Iranian exile (she's lived in the United States since 1997) continues to display a masterful touch that merges the personal with the political. She also deploys her sharp literary sensibilities to inform this hard-to-tell story. Almost all the critics point out the book's fragmentary nature. Those drawn in by the intimacies in Nafisi's story judge the book a resounding success; those looking for something else—more about Iran or less judgment about her mother—find it "flawed if beautifully written" (Oregonian).
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

More About the Author

Azar Nafisi is a professor at John Hopkins University. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal among others, and is the author of Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov's Novels. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and two children.

Customer Reviews

Please read this book!
Amazon Customer
Real memoirs filled are like life itself, filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly, and there is plenty of each in this author's book.
Hannibaal
This mother-daughter relationship was doomed from the start and only got marginaly better as the mother got older.
Rita Sasso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Though I very much enjoyed "Reading Lolita In Tehran," Nafisi's new book, "Things I've Been Silent About" surpasses her first on nearly every level. She still tells the story of her live in conjunction with the books and stories that matter most to her, but "Things I've Been Silent About" is a far more personal tale. You feel that she is letting you into a life she was hesitant to speak of before, and the revelations that take place in the telling are heartbreaking and endearing.

Her struggle with her parents, her place between the two of them, is masterfully told. The hesitation she feels being there, as well as the favoritism she shows her father in many cases, closes any gaps one might have in relating to her story. Most children favor one family member over another at some point, and usually there is some sort of guilt that goes with that favoritism.

I'm rambling a bit, but I can't help it. This book moved me in ways her first book did not. In the end I hardly know what to say, except that you should read it.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed "Reading Lolita in Tehran," and was excited that she has written another book. I have been reading about the Middle Eastern cultures and couldn't wait to read Nafisi's book ... but I must confess, I am slightly disappointed with it. Oh, don't get me wrong as it is chock-full of politics, history and everything that could spark my interest in learning more about Iran. But I wasn't counting on this book to be of a love-hate relationship she has with her mother. That overshadowed everything I wanted to learn about Iran as that issue dragged on throughout the entire book ... and frankly, by the time I was finished with this book, I was really glad to be done with it. I love memoirs but this one really dragged.

It starts off strong ... with Nafisi describing her childhood in Tehran, visiting the chocolate, the toy and the book shops with her mother. It sounded like paradise; the descriptions were beautiful and lyrical that I could "see" in my imagination of what it must have been like for Nafisi as a young child. Then the battles with her mother intensified and carried on throughout the entire book (about 314 pages of it) and it got really tiresome. Her mother was emotionally abandoned by her father when she was a young child and though she lived in his house, her half-siblings were favored over her. She married young and when her husband died, she never got over it even after marrying Nafisi's father. She claimed to be a dancer though no one has ever seen her dance. The stories pile up and Nafisi spent years trying to get from under her mother's oppressive shadow. Nafisi went overseas to school, married young and finished school before divorcing her first husband. Headstrong, Nafisi grew into the woman that we first meet in her book, "Reading Lolita in Tehran.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on January 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Azar Nafisi is writing an earlier memoir about her dysfunctional family, especially her parents. Like Doris Lessing's "Alfred and Emily" and Julia Blackburn's "The Three of Us", this story is one of surviving one's parents. The author came from a mid-level political family and their is the backstory of Iranian history in the last century. The writing is crisp and riveting -- the abuse on numerous levels and her perception of her mother as an emotional controlling monster. After reading this book, the reader should turn to her tale about her later life : "Reading Lolita in Tehran".
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Azar Nafisi, who will be best-known for the runaway success of her last book, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books has produced that marvel, a flawless, crisply-written and meaningful memoir that more than accomplishes her stated goal, that of telling the recounting "those fragile intersections -- the places where moments in an individual's private life and personality resonate with and reflect a larger, more universal story."

Nafisi is born into the Teheran of the 1940s and 50s, a world in which women such as her mother can receive an education and run for Parliament -- even as her father, a former mayor of Teheran, is imprisoned for unknown reasons and confined for years to a cell. But Nafisi, educated in Europe and the United States, where she joins the student movement of the 1960s and 1970s and becomes a vociferous opponent of the Shah's regime, returns to Iran after the revolution only to discovery the existence of a new kind of "black" totalitarianism -- clerical rule by Ayatollah Khomeini and his successors. It is against the backdrop of the dramatic events of these times -- coups, revolutions, civil war and war -- that Nafisi tells deeply personal stories of her life and those of her parents, two deeply incompatible people who damaged each other and, in their different ways, damaged their daughter.

From an early age, Nafisi learns to take refuge in stories and literature; first, the tales that her father tells her from Persian history and mythology (her favorite character is Ferdowsi's Radabeh, from the Shahnameh chronicles) and later books that range from Annemarie Selinko's historical romance, Desiree, to Tolstoy, George Eliot and -- of course -- Nabokov.
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