Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi
This is the second book I've read by this author, who also wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran. Though both books are nonfiction about her life in Iran, Things I've Been Silent About is much broader in scope than the first. This book focuses much more on Azar Nafisi's personal life, particularly her relationship with her parents. Written in roughly chronological order from before her parents were married through the early 2000s, the narrative covers many years in Iran and the U.S. with some historical and political events, particularly as they related to the author directly. For those memories that seem particularly poignant, she lapses into the present tense taking the reader into the moment with her. Her memoirs are often sad, but beautifully written.
Here is a sample of her writing, from the prologue when she discusses the meaning of the title: "There are so many different forms of silence: the silence that tyrannical states force on their citizens, stealing their memories, rewriting their histories, and imposing on them a state-sanctioned identity. Or the silence of witnesses who choose to ignore or not speak the truth, and of victims who at times become complicit in the crimes committed against them. Then there are the silences we indulge in about ourselves, our personal mythologies, the stories we impose upon our real lives" (xxi). This book speaks of all these types of silences. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
Cross posted at Born Reader.