At the age of twenty, Zarah Ghahramani was swept off the streets of Tehran and taken to the notorious Evin prison, where criminals and political dissidents were held side by side in conditions of legendary brutality. In this richly textured memoir, she tells the terrifying, inspiring story of her time in prison. My Life as a Traitor celebrates a triumph of the individual over the state and is an affecting addition to the literature of struggle and dissent.
Zarah Ghahramani was born in Tehran in 1981. After her release from prison, she moved to Australia. My Life as a Traitor is her first book.
Robert Hillman is a journalist and novelist who has traveled widely in the Middle East.
“[Ghahramani] records, in harrowing detail, the dire consequences of indulging her defiant 'pink-shoe sensibility..." Ghahramani writes in a spare, eloquent prose style that reflects both her child's view of the world before arriving at Evin and the pared-down perceptions of her prison experience.” —The New York Times
“In Ghahramani's graceful, chilling memoir, her naiveté gives way to fearless insights about her country and herself. Questioning the status quo made her a traitor to a fundamentalist regime, but in this searingly honest, brave book, she's nothing short of heroic.” —People
“[Ghahramani] recounts her beatings with dignified anger in this vivid, sometimes horrifying memoir… Her strength: she doesn't let outrage overtake the striking feminine vitality of her storytelling.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Chilling… Riveting… Like the best-selling graphic novel series Persepolis, My Life as a Traitor is compelling for its seemingly unvarnished glimpse at the experiences of an ordinary young woman in post-1979 Iran…. The memoir illuminates truths about inflexible and dictatorial regimes.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Married and now living in Australia, Ghahramani has had time to reflect. In this memoir, she does so, evoking both the beauty of her culture and the horror of its regime.” —New York Daily News
“We think something like that could never happen to us. But it happened to Zarah Ghahramani just a few years ago in Iran.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Graphic and powerful as her treatment of torturous imprisonment is, Ghahramani retains an irrepressible lightness… Her straightforward style, elegant in its simplicity, has resonance and appeal beyond a mere record.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ghahramani's shockingly honest recollections grimly complement Marina Nemat's account of her ordeal at Evin in the early 1980s… reminding us of how little has changed for women in Iran.” —Kirkus Reviews