Maziar Bahari · 384 pages
Rating: (3.7K votes)
“We were all caught in that uncomfortable zone between trying to save our lives and betraying ourselves.”
“Jafaa. In Persian, this very poetic word refers to all the wrongs you do to those who love you.”
“You thought of dying as a value. Young people these days appreciate being alive.”
“Most religious people I know follow the teachings of their religion (or what they think are the teachings of their religion) without putting that much thought into it.”
“God is not going to send someone to hell for my mistakes. So God and I have to deal with my own salvation.”
“No one believes in the koseh she’r”—the bullshit—“that you’re going to say.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, Maziar,” he said sarcastically. “Don’t play games with me, or you will make me angry again. Don’t tell me that you don’t know about these parties where men and women start with dinner and drinking alcohol and then go to the swimming pool, where they eat chocolate off each other’s bodies.” I sat silently, trying to picture it. How on earth does one eat chocolate off another person’s body in a swimming pool? I had a picture in my mind of chocolate floating on the surface of the water, and then I began to imagine the mixed taste of chlorine and chocolate.”
“When I saw my backside, I gasped. “I have no ass!” I said aloud. “They have left me no ass!”
“In arranged marriages in Iran, it is customary that after the family of the boy asks the family of the girl for her hand, they go to her house to discuss the arrangements with her parents. The girl shows her face only once, when she serves tea and sweets to the guests.”
“You need to have your lunch before going out to report on this ashghal,” she said, referring to Ahmadinejad. Ashghal, the Persian word for “garbage,” is the strongest insult in my mother’s lexicon.”
“When I asked him what he was planning to do in Canada, he didn’t have an answer. “I don’t care about myself anymore. I’ll go and clean the floors there. All I care about now is the future of my children.”
“Seventy-four suspended lashes for having tea with your friend!” she said, with as much hatred as I’d ever heard in her voice. “What do they expect young people to do? Pray and say ‘Death to America’ all day?” She looked at my father. “Mazi should really leave this country next year.”
“Talking to a prisoner under duress can be the most shameful thing a journalist will ever do. I stared at him, willing him to look me in the eye. I held the blindfold on my lap so that he could clearly see it.”
“I detested revolutions; I believed, instead, in reconciliation and reform.”
“After, presumably, Rosewater found out that Chekhov was not Jewish, he did not bother with any more questions about people with surnames ending with ov. That included my Israeli friend David Shem-tov. I don’t think you can find a more Israeli name than Shem-tov, but I could just imagine the Revolutionary Guards researchers saying to each other, “Chekhov, Molotov, Shem-tov, they are all the same!”
“The next day, Sunday, June 14, Ahmadinejad held a press conference in the office of the president, on Pasteur Street in south Tehran. In the large white room with its decorative varnished wood panels, I sat among the dozens of Iranian and foreign journalists, taking notes and concentrating on remaining professional, even as I felt the anger inside me growing. The newly reelected president spent the first part of the press conference boasting about his win. When reporters asked about allegations of vote rigging, he barely batted an eye: Mousavi supporters “are like a football team that has lost a game but keeps on insisting that it has won,” he said. He flashed a malicious smile and added, “You’ve lost. Why don’t you accept it?”
“Do you think we’re like you Americans in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo who torture people by keeping them thirsty? We have something called ra’fateh Islami”—Islamic kindness—“in this prison. Something you Americans have never heard of.” He genuinely believed that calling someone an American was an insult, and always said the word with a sneer.”
“I can’t drink Nescafé, sir,” I lied, not knowing how to tell him that I found its taste revolting.”
“In fact, in the 1990s an adviser to the mayor of Tehran suggested that they add Prozac to Tehran’s water to revitalize the citizens.”
“When you think about it in the big scheme of things our time together is like a dash of spice in a big cosmic soup - important for richness of flavor but still not quite the main ingredient. The past is over. It can't and shouldn't be reclaimed. All we ever have is now anyway.”
“The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come -- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow.”
“I felt my hand curl into a fist. Felt my elbow draw back. Felt my arm dart forward, my knuckles crack into Cole's jaw. I couldn't stop myself. His head whipped to the side, and blood leaked from a cut in his lip. Behind me, gasps of shock abounded.
"I'm recovered," I said. "Believe me now?"
Those violet eyes slitted when they found me. "Assault and battery is illegal."
"So have me arrested."
He closed what little distance there was between us. Suddenly I could feel his warmth of his breath caressing my skin. "How about I put you over my lap and spank you instead?"
"How about I knee your balls into your throat?"
"If you're going to play with that particular area, I'd rather you use your hands."
"My hands aren't going near that area ever again."
A pause. Then, "I bet I could change your mind," he whispered huskily.
"I bet I could bash yours." I drew back another fist, but he was ready and caught me midswing. His pupils dilated, a sign of arousal. Another sign: he began to pant. He was acting like I'd tried to unbuckle his jeans rather than smack fire out of him.
"Hit me again," he said, still using the same whispered tone, "and I'll take it as an invitation."
I was just as bad. I trembled with longing I couldn't control and struggled to catch my breath. "An invitation to do what?"
His grip loosened, his fingers rubbing my skin. A caress, not a warning. "I guess we'll find out together.”
“Because you’re going to help me train a seven-year-old Witch who’s got the raw power right now to turn us both into dust and yet”—he dropped the shoe onto the chair—“is abysmal at basic Craft.”
“If she spoke, she would tell him the truth: she was not okay at all, but horribly empty, now that she knew what it was like to be filled.”
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