Literature: Things I’ve Been Silent About

“…the past comes to us, not neatly but like a knife, always unexpected. And it comes in fragments.”
-Azar Nafisi, in Things I’ve Been Silent About

Things I've Been Silent AboutTitle: Things I’ve Been Silent About // Author: Azar Nafisi // Publisher: Random House // December 30, 2008 // 368 p.

What makes a book good? I don’t know if there can be a universal answer to such a question, but—in two words—I like a book to be transporting and mind-blowing. I like books to take me places I’ve never been (or take me somewhere I’ll never be able to go, such as inside the mind of a teenager like Holden Caulfield), and I usually like to learn something in the process. Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran (Random House, 2003) was both of these things, and I eagerly anticipated reading her latest: Things I’ve Been Silent About. This book wasn’t quite as transporting or mind-blowing as her previous, but it still dislodged me from my comfort zone and made me think about politics, censorship, family relations…and ultimately the nature of love. The book centers on Nafisi’s family stories, but references to Persian literary classics are sprinkled throughout, much in the way that Western literary classics are in Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think about the book…or just let me know what you look for in a good book, in general!

Azar Nafisi’s Things I’ve Been Silent About takes off like a tumbleweed and then hits with the emotional impact of a boulder. It’s fragmented and flighty at first, but the book gains momentum as family stories morph into significant cultural ruminations. And – as one might expect from this author – a single, important idea is threaded throughout: Literature savesclick here to continue reading from my review of this book in Denver’s Rocky Mountain News…

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One response to “Literature: Things I’ve Been Silent About

  1. I found a good book – Italo Calvino’s “Why Read the Classics?” Let me know what you think if you look at it.

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