Books

The Republic of Imagination

Azar Nafisi

From the author of the bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran comes a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction today.

Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In this exhilarating follow-up, Nafisi has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society.

Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her at a reading, she energetically responds to those who say fiction has nothing to teach us today. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favourite novels, she invites us to join her as citizens of her 'Republic of Imagination', a country where the villains are conformity, and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Azar Nafisi

Every Thursday morning in a living room in Iran, over tea and pastries, eight women meet in secret to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. As they lose themselves in the worlds of Lolita, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice, gradually they come to share their own stories, dreams and hopes with each other, and, for a few hours, taste freedom. Azar Nafisi's bestselling memoir is a moving, passionate testament to the transformative power of books, the magic of words and the search for beauty in life's darkest moments.

Things I've Been Silent About

Azar Nafisi

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.

Things I've Been Silent About

Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi, author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, now gives us a stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country's political revolution.A girl's pain over family secrets; a young woman's discovery of the power of sensuality in literature; the price a family pays for freedom in a country beset by political upheaval - these and other threads are woven together in this beautiful memoir.

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.Nafisi's father escaped into narratives of another kind, enchanting his children with classic tales like the Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings.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.

Reaching back in time to reflect on other generations in the Nafisi family, Things I've Been Silent About is also a powerful historical portrait of a family that spans the many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79.It is, finally, a deeply personal reflection on women's choices, and how Azar Nafisi found the inspiration for a different kind of life.This unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland is a stunning book that readers will embrace, a new triumph from an author who is a modern master of the memoir.

Biography

Azar Nafisi is a visiting professor and the director of the Dialogue Project at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She has taught Western literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University, and the University of Allameh Tabatabai in Iran. 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 is the author of The Republic of Imagination and Things I've Been Silent About, and lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and two children.