My Prison, My Home

By Haleh Esfandiari (HarperCollins, RRP $29.99)

Last updated 12:33 12/05/2010

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In 2006, when Haleh Esfandiari tried to leave the country of her birth, Iran, after visiting her elderly mother, she became the victim of a highway robbery.

All her luggage was stolen along with her passport. So instead of making it to the airport she had to return to her mother's house and begin the tedious task of replacing her stolen identifications. As the weeks pass it slowly dawns on Haleh that it wasn't just a simple robbery but a plot to keep her in Iran.

After weeks of interrogation Haleh finds herself in the clutches of a repressive regime which throws her into the infamous Evin prison in Tehran accusing her of "endangering national security". And so begins Haleh's nightmare ...

Not only are her rights as a person, let alone a woman, being taken away, her health deteriorates and she doesn't know who to trust.

The disturbing part of this memoir is the the year it happened. How can a country get away with such intimidation? It's Iran and it's brutal.

This is a wonderfully written account of one woman's nightmare with in-depth research so the reader doesn't get left behind the doors of political turmoil in a county that lives constantly in the wake of a paranoid mindset.

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- The Southland Times

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