In July 2014, Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iranian police on fabricated charges that he was spying for America. Here he narrates the story of his arrest and the 18 months he spent in an Iranian prison.
Prisoner is more than just a memoir that reads like a thriller. It’s also an intimate family history, an anguished love letter to an ancient and broken homeland, and a spirited defense of journalism and truth at a time when both are under attack almost everywhere ... Few serious books about the Middle East end on a moment of optimism, and Prisoner is a serious book. As both American and Iranian, Rezaian truly believed he could live in and between his two home countries. But he can’t. Not now.
Prisoner, Rezaian’s account of his time behind bars and his release, is full of stories...some of them funny, some of them outrageous ... Not all of Rezaian’s book is...fast-reading ...There is a slow-going chapter about the many relatives in his large Iranian American family, and in general, the narrative about the incremental progress of his court case inches along. It is Rezaian’s descriptions of the way the Iranian regime operates at the working level—its twisted logic and paranoia—that make the book so worthwhile.
[Rezaian's] account of how he learns that he has become an international household name is characteristically wry ... at the airport there is one final drama — told in riveting prose — when Iranian authorities refuse to allow Rezaian's wife and mother-in-law to leave with him ... Rezaian is unsparingly intimate throughout, writing of his fears, his insecurities, of the conjugal visits with his wife allowed by the Revolutionary Guard ... Rezaian comes off as a guy one would like to have as a friend, and it seems the Iranians think so, too.