Brought up as a Christian, Marina Nemat's peaceful childhood in Tehran was shattered when the Iranian Revolution of 1979 ushered in a new era of Islamic rule. After complaining to her teachers about her Maths lessons being replaced by Koran study, Marina was arrested late one evening. She was taken to the notorious prison, Evin, where interrogation and torture were part of the daily routine. Aged sixteen, she was sentenced to death. Her prison guard snatched her from the firing squad bullets but exacted a shocking price in return: marriage to him and conversion to Islam. Marina lived out her prison days as his secret bride, spending nights with him in a separate cell.
Marina struggled to reconcile her hatred towards Ali and her feelings of physical repulsion with the fact that he had saved her life. When Ali was murdered by his enemies from Evin, and saved Marina's life for a second time, her feelings were complicated even further. At last she was able to return home, to her family and her past life, but silence surrounded her time as a political prisoner and the regime kept her under constant surveillance. Marina's world had been changed forever and she questions whether she will ever escape Iran and its regime or be free of her memories of Evin.
Marina Nemat was born in Tehran and grew up during the Iranian revolution. She now lives in Canada with her husband and their two sons.
'A shockingly vivid picture of prison life' — Daily Mail
'A dramatic account that takes us to the heart of a brutal . . . dictatorship' — Morning Star
'Her story is unforgettable' — Janine de Giovanni, Vogue
'Mesmerizing stuff' — Glamour
'A gripping personal history' — New York Times
'A moving and eloquent account of her life' — Sainsbury's Magazine, June issue
'Nemat (tells) an extraordinary story of life in revolutionary Iran, of imprisonment, forced marriage and conversion to Islam' — Sue Baker, Publishing News
Like a harrowing Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Prisoner of Tehran is the story of Marina Nemat - her unvarnished courage, her intrepid wisdom, her fight to save her integrity and her family in a world in which to be female is to be chattel. Written with the deft hands of a novelist, it is the portrait of a world only too real, where women's lives are cheap - but not this one — Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN and CAGE OF STARS
'Prisoner of Tehran is a harrowing journey, an account of growth under the darkest of circumstances and a trial of faith in the face of overwhelming horror. It is skillfully constructed, with a keen sense of suspense' — Robert J. Wiersema, author of BEFORE I AWAKE
'Prisoner of Tehran is an extraordinary story of survival and how one woman finally found inner peace through the written word' — Entertainment Weekly
'This powerful memoir examines Nemat's struggle to forgive those who beat her and sentenced her to death at 16 for speaking out against her government' — Newsweek
'It is an act of bravery, this book, as well as compassion. Her words, well wrought and heartfelt, expose her shocking dilemma and the terrible system that tried to defile her' — The Globe and Mail (Canada)
'Prisoner of Tehran is on of the finest (memoirs) ever written by a Canadian' — Macleans Magazine, (Canada)
'Nemat tells of her harrowing experience as a young Iranian girl at the start of the Islamic revolution. In January 1982, the 16-year-old student activist was arrested, jailed in Tehran's infamous Evin prison, tortured and sentenced to death. Ali, one of her interrogators, intervened moments before her execution, having used family connections with Ayatollah Khomeini himself to reduce her sentence to life in prison. The price: she would convert to Islam (she was Christian) and marry him, or he would see to it that her family and boyfriend, Andre, were jailed or even killed. She remained a political prisoner for two years. Nemat's engaging memoir is rich with complex characters - loved ones lost on both sides of this bloody conflict. Ali, the man who rapes and subjugates her, also saves her life several times - he is assassinated by his own subordinates. His family embraces Nemat with more affection and acceptance than her own, even fighting for her release after his death. Nemat ret — Publishers' Weekly, US
'[An] unforgettable memoir. Haunted by her lost friends and by her betrayal of them, Nemat tells her story without messages and with no sense of heroism' — Booklist, starred review