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I really enjoyed reading Prisoner of Tehran and was glad to find this interview of the author, Marina Nemat. If you’ve read the book many things will be a repeat, but still interesting to hear Nemat’s voice and responses to questions.

There’s also an excerpt from the book available in the article. You can find the article here:

Survival at a Price in an Iranian Prison

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Prisoner of Tehran wasn’t originally on my list for this year, but I saw it in the library laying on top of the biographies and was intrigued. It wasn’t until my next trek to the library that I picked it up.

I read it in two days.

It was really good, but sad. I’m very interested in Middle Eastern culture and literature, especially in regards to Iran. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because the Middle East takes precedent in the news or that I was introduced to the plight and suffering of Middle Eastern women in my mom’s Marie Claire magazines. (The magazine use to have a section on women’s issues, that often covered the Middle East.)

The book is the memoir of Marina Nemat a political prisoner during the Islamic Cultural Revolution. Why did she become a prisoner? Because she questioned her teacher on why they were hearing revolution propaganda instead of learning calculus. The book chronicles her life the few weeks before she was arrested, her time in prisoner, and how she was released (which involved marrying one of her interragators).

Marina says in the beginning that the events are recounted as best as she remembers, which might be why some have criticized Prisoner of Tehran as more fiction than fact. Other women who were prisoners in Evin say that certain events and descriptions of the prisoner are incorrect. Either way, it is Nemat’s memoir, her recollection, and shows the horrors that have come out of the Cultural Revolution in Iran.

What fascinated me most about this memoir is that there’s reality to it, even amidst the accusations of it being fiction. These are things that would never happen in America, horrors I would never experience, circumstances that are beyond my ability to fully comprehend.

Torture, imprisonment, revolution.

Prisoner of Tehran will draw you in to a world you cannot imagine and leave you in disbelief that such a place really exists.

You can learn more about the author Marina Nemat at her website (www.marinanemat.com), where you can find pictures from her time in Iran, a short biography, and essays.

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