Letters to My Torturer

Pages: 320
Subject: Politics, Current Affairs, Biography
Imprint: Oneworld

Letters to My Torturer

Love, Revolution, and Imprisonment in Iran

Houshang Asadi

Prominent Iranian journalist and political activist, Houshang Asadi was used to being arrested. This time, however, was different. Little did he know in 1983 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'.
Paperback
9781851688005 (1 May 2011)
RRP £9.99 / US$14.95

The Book

Houshang Asadi's Letters to My Torturer is one of the most harrowing accounts of human suffering to emerge from Iran and is now available for the first time in paperback.


Kept in solitary confinement for over two years in an infamous Tehran prison, Asadi suffered inhuman degradations and brutal torture: suspended from the ceiling, beaten, and forced to bark like a dog, Asadi became a spy for the Russians, for the British - for anyone.


Narrowly escaping execution as the government unleashed a bloody pogrom against political prisoners, Asadi was hauled before a sham court and sentenced to fifteen years. Here he confronts his torturer, speaking for those who will never be heard, and provides a glimpse into the heart of Iran and the practice of state-sponsored justice.

Additional Information

Subject Politics, Current Affairs, Biography
Pages 320
Imprint Oneworld

About the Author

In 1983, the journalist, writer, and translator 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.

Reviews

"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. Twenty years later, now living in Paris, Asadi records his recollections of torture and imprisonment in the form of 27 letters to his interrogator, whom he calls Brother Hamid. Required at all times to wear a blindfold in Brother Hamid's presence, Asadi developed a relationship with and a perverse dependence upon his torturer, which he describes in graphic detail, along with the endless parade of humiliations he was required to endure while being falsely accused of being both a British and a Soviet spy. Asadi is a gifted storyteller; even if the text, which jumps about chronologically, can be momentarily confusing, 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." (June)

- Publishers Weekly

"A searing and unforgettable account. . . Asadi is a gifted storyteller."

- Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully crafted, lyrical, and sad... An important firsthand account".

- Library Journal

"[B]eautifully crafted, lyrical, and sad... An important firsthand account."

- Library Journal

"A searing and unforgettable account. . . Asadi is a gifted storyteller."

- Publishers Weekly

"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

"The book would be remarkable on any terms, but it is made especially memorable by the chilling irony and heartbreaking naïveté that characterize Mr. Asadi's tale... Mr. Asadi's dispassionate description of his experiences makes the book a permanent addition to the harrowing genre of the torture memoir. A powerful testament to what transpires in the prisons of Iran."

- The Wall Street Journal

"The book would be remarkable on any terms, but it is made especially memorable by the chilling irony and heartbreaking naïveté that characterize Mr. Asadi's tale... Mr. Asadi's dispassionate description of his experiences makes the book a permanent addition to the harrowing genre of the torture memoir. A powerful testament to what transpires in the prisons of Iran."

- The Wall Street Journal