My Life as a Traitor

My Life as a Traitor : A Story of Courage and Survival in Tehran's Brutal Evin Prison

3.74 (766 ratings by Goodreads)
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When the blindfold is removed, the first thing my vision registers is the face of the man who is to be my interrogator. He knows the impact his appearance will have on a young woman, really a child, snatched from the streets without warning. He knows everything about my terror. Born in 1981, Zarah Ghahramani grew up in a sheltered suburb of Tehran. The pampered daughter of liberal, middle-class parents, she was brought up to believe that education was no less a vital priority for girls than for boys, and was encouraged to read widely and ambitiously. She had the natural teenage enthusiasms of girls the world over. But along with all the women of her generation, she had to dress in muted colours, and cover her hair in order to observe the strict rules of the Khomeini regime. It was part youthful zeal and part teen crush that led Zarah to join a student protest movement: like everyone, she was in awe of Arash, the firebrand student who led the protests and was known to be an irritant to the regime. But her dabble with student politics was to lead to disaster when one day she was bundled into a car and taken to Tehran's most notorious prison: Evin.
Home was now a windowless concrete cell. But it was a refuge from her two interrogators: one vile and coarse, more animal than man, the other smoother, more apparently civil, but just as ruthless. Day after day she was humiliated and viciously beaten. In My Life as a Traitor Zarah tells the story of her horrifying ordeal and her eventual release, and describes the ways it changed the naive 19-year-old she once was into a woman of courage and determination.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 135 x 216mm | 390g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0747591946
  • 9780747591948

Review quote

'The theocratic Iranian state fears the spirit of women and seeks to crush it. Most Iranian women are feisty, resilient and ambitious, some are crushed; others like this writer, rise like a phoenix. What they go through is unimaginable - this book forces us to imagine it. Brilliant - heart-breaking and life-affirming' Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 'MY LIFE AS A TRAITOR is an important and revealing book about a culture and a country that figures hugely in modern geopolitics. It is the inner journey of one young woman, of her fear, pride, courage and ultimate survival in Tehran's brutal Evin prison. But it is also a coming of age story that haunts and provokes; beautifully written and disturbingly unforgettable. It will stand beside Solzhenitysn and Primo Levi as a book that show exactly how human beings survive in the face of true evil' Janine di Giovanni 'A compelling story a must read for anyone interested in understanding the complex nation that is Iran.' Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America 'MY LIFE AS A TRAITOR is a riveting story. It is a celebration of human courage under duress and a savage indictment of the oppressive regime of Iran. It shocks, angers, saddens, and inspires' KHALED HOSSEINI
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About Zarah Ghahramani

Zarah Ghahramani was born in Tehran in 1981. She is now permanently resident in Australia. This is her first book. Her co-writer, Robert Hilman, was born in 1948 and grew up in rural Victoria. He has written several novels as well as poetry and short fiction. His 2004 memoir, The Boy in the Green Suit, won Australia's National Biography Award. My Life As A Traitor has also been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards.
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Rating details

766 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 23% (174)
4 38% (293)
3 31% (241)
2 6% (48)
1 1% (10)
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