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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.
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on April 2, 2011
I am sickened by some of the negative reviews people have posted on this page. For one, even if much of this story was made up, ONE innocent prisoner beaten is one too many. For people who think this story is fabricated, they are naive to the horror humans are capable of doing to one another and/or they are sadly missing the entire message. Stories like this MUST be told. Because of fear and threat that victims feel, evil is able to thrive. And people who choose to deny the occurrence of events such as those told by Marina, are second-handedly contributing to the silence. These stories MUST be told! I support anyone who is courageous enough to speak out.
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on August 1, 2013
I read this book for a book club meeting I plan to attend.

I had heard, a long time ago, that reading biographies is a good way to learn about history. Just to clarify that statement, I beleive they should be biographies about people that had a part in history. I don't normally read biographies about actors or athletes. I like to read biographies about people who made history or were a part of it.

That is why I liked this book. It is a real person. She lived through an expereince that I would wish on no one. It was part of history that we had not heard that too much of. There were few people who could.

The authour had two purposes in this novel. One is tell her story. We all have a story to tell. Some people have a better strory to tell, some can tell a story better. This author can do both. This is a story that needs to be told and we have a storyteller that can tell a story. So many people who try to tell their story, can't tell it properly. It is such a boon to the reader when both are achieved.

The other purpose is that the author had to tell this story. I don't know why talking about our bad experiences makes us feel better. The author needed to tell us her story for her own piece of mind. And for the hundreds of women that could not.

The story had what I expected, torture and executions. There were a few twists that I did not expect. But there had to be for the author to survive a prison for political prisoners in Iran after the revolution.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, especially 20th century. I liked the book.
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on September 22, 2014
This is the story of the cruel torture of a young woman whose 'crime' was to ask for an improved educational standard. She wanted to learn more. How dare she, a female, make any request at all?

This is a story that explains brutal sexist violence authorized by religion, and the failure of the ignorant to staunch the strength of an intelligent woman who found her way to a much better world with her reflective mind - and her pen.

An excellent read!

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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on October 12, 2011
Thank you to the author for sharing her story on love and bravery in the face of injustice. Stories like these need to be told. It does not bother me that some of the details were fabricated - there is disclosure of this at the beginning of the book. I would assume that the content in the book is as truthful as that in the media, if not more so. I recommend the book to all. It is an easy read - though heart wrenching - and I could not put it down.
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on February 21, 2011
This is indeeed a story of resilience, hope and forgiveness. Marina's resilience to carry on in spite of enduring both physical and emotional pain, of coming to understand the importance of forgiveness and having hope that there would be better days, is inspirational. I found her writing to be direct and honest and in that it capitavated me. I would highly recommend this book.
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on March 19, 2015
Well written story that really gives you insight into how much things changed in Iran after Ayatollah Khomeini came into power. Hard to imagine what it would be like to have your life, your country, your world change so radically but Marina Nemat does a great job of giving you an inside look. A courageous woman, I admire her not only for her strength in living through what she did but also for having the courage to share her story with the world. It's an important story and one that should be heard.
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on November 28, 2012
This book was authentic, touching, and I read it in record time. Having met the author, it was that much more interesting. What I particularly enjoyed was the honesty she revealed when talking about her own family and her in-laws. She could have so easily demonized everyone but her even-handedness made the book all the more moving.
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on September 1, 2012
Hi !
I bought this book because I wanted to know more about these people who lives a different life. Thet have their own laws, a different culture, etc...I enjoy it a lot and I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about these far away contries that are wrongly knowns.
H. Lussier
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on July 29, 2013
Book was easy to read, captivating and astounding. A book of great courage when there is nothing that can be done to fight against a government/religious group with such overwhelming power. A modern day true life dystopia.
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