An interview with Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi is adamant. The book I am holding in my hands — Things I’ve Been Silent About, published this month — is not the book she was going to write. She had no intention, she promises me, of writing a memoir detailing, as this beautiful and sensitive book does, her relationship with her remarkable, difficult mother, the breakdown of her parents’ marriage and her family’s close involvement in the politics of pre-revolutionary Iran. Yet somehow that is what she has done. She laughs, and it’s a laugh I’ll hear many times in the course of our all-too-short conversation: it is warm, vibrant, self-deprecating.