Top positive review
18 of 18 people found this helpful
on November 28, 2011
For Christmas 2009, my daughter in Whitehorse recorded a series of CBC podcasts, because she knows I like to stay connected to Canada when I ply the freeways of Europe. My first reaction to the title "Prisoner of Tehran" was a groan. Oh no! I won't hear about Spadina Avenue or Stanley Park, but get more negative stuff out of the Middle East than I care for after listening to the news every day.
I popped it in anyway. From the first line, I was hooked. It starts "There is an ancient Persian proverb that says, "The sky is the same colour wherever you go." But the Canadian sky was different from the one I remembered from Iran, it was a deeper shade of blue and seemed endless, as if challenging the horizon".
Not only is this a sublimely poetic start to a gripping story; it matched my own experiences as immigrant to Canada from hazy Europe. From there on, I hung on the narrator's every word, as the story unfolds of terrible fear and pain in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, and the ultimate victory of decency. I have since bought the book at a dozen or more times, both in English and in German, and given it to friends and family.
After I finished listening I did something I had never done before. I wrote an email to the author and thanked her for the story. I didn't really expect a reply. At best, something along the lines of "Thanks for your kind words, Gabriel". But I was wrong. Ms. Nemat replied in detail to my comments. And from this, a beautiful friendship has evolved spanning two continents. Ms.Nemat's humility and warmth just blew me away.
On Amazon Germany, Prisoner of Tehran has 19 ratings as of November 2011, almost all top 5 stars. The only other Canadian book I have encountered in Germany so far with higher ratings is "Anne of Green Gables" - probably the most famous piece of literature ever to flow out of a Canadian quill. Prisoner of Tehran was published in 28 countries. In Germany, it comes with a sticker "The Bestseller".
Not only has Prisoner of Tehran become the voice of all victims of political torture and persecution - the book has also succeeded in communicating Canadian values and literature throughout the world. Canada could not ask for a better ambassador overseas.
Prisoner of Tehran has a phenomenal emotional impact and makes me proud to live in Europe with a Canadian passport.