- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (December 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400063612
- ISBN-13: 978-1400063611
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Things I've Been Silent About: Memories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, December 30, 2008
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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)
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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).
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
By the author of Reading Lolita In Tehran, which I liked very much.
This is memories about growing up & in particular her fraught relationship with her mother. Read more
After reading this book I am more enlighten about Iran history. This writer is a very good history teller.Published 4 months ago by Maite Rodriguez Gutierrez
Nafisi determines to demonstrate elimination of the Persian taboo on revealing her family's realities to the world. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Brian Griffith
Great Book. Very informative and also a page turner. Mrs. Nafisi is a wonderful writer.Published 9 months ago by Edurne
a wonderful glimpse into the life in Iran. and very beautifully writtenPublished 11 months ago by Irima M
A very engaging autobiography and quite instructive of modern day Iran. Certainly a must read.Published 15 months ago by Sonja