Home > A look > making for harrowing and unique reading

making for harrowing and unique reading


Details: Casebound | 336 pages | ISBN 9781851687503 | Jun 2010
Sample Chapter (PDF)

Prominent Iranian journalist and political activist Houshang Asadi was used to being arrested. This time, however, was different. Little did he know in 1983 that he would spend the next six years being brutally, mindlessly tortured by the very people he supported.

“Brother Hamid”, Asadi’s torturer, stopped at nothing to extract his “confessions”. Asadi was a spy for Russia, for Britain, for anyone or anything. Hamid became an ambassador; Asadi a fugitive, haunted by nightmares and persisting pain. His feet lashed till lame, blindfolded, he was grilled until he could no longer phrase a simple question himself.

Through these letters, Asadi recounts how his accidental friendship with a fellow prisoner, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, finally saved his life – and confronts his torturer one last time.

In 1983, Houshang Asadi was locked in a Tehran prison. Under torture, he said he was a spy. Many of his friends also confessed, and were later executed. He was released after six years. Today, he lives in Paris with his wife, Nooshabeh Amiri. They write for the Iranian news website Rooz Online.

“A terrifying and deeply moving account of a man and a country still brutalized by the politics of fear.” Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve and author of Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons

“This remarkable, humane story of abuse and survival across Iranian regimes – told by Ayatollah Khamenei’s former cellmate – deserves a global audience, to understand the meaning of cruelty and the reality of modern, tragic, brutal Iran.” Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team

“A scathing indictment of torture and a testament to survival against all odds. It is the revenge of truth and a past revealed but not yet healed.” Michael Henderson, author ofNo Enemy to Conquer: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World

“A harrowing memoir of imprisonment and torture under the Islamic Republic of Iran… With moving stories about fellow prisoners, biting commentary on the religious dictates imposed by his jailers and meditations on the soul-destroying effect of false confessions and the special cruelty of his ideological, authoritarian interrogators, Asadi s simple prose attracts even as the facts he reports repel… A horrifying glimpse of the decades-long nightmare still afflicting the people of Iran.” Kirkus Reviews

“Iranian journalist Asadi offers a searing and unforgettable account of the six years he spent in prison after being arrested in 1981 in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution. Asadi is a gifted storyteller… his ability to convey the toll of torture and imprisonment is undiminished. And the choice of the epistolary narrative device is a felicitous one: it’s as if the reader has found these letters in a shoebox or a locked drawer, making for harrowing and unique reading.” Publishers Weekly

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