City of Lies Paperback copy.jpg

Debut Political Book of the Year Award

Royal Society of Literature’s Jerwood Award for non-fiction

Ramita Navai’s City of Lies is gripping, a dark, delicious unveiling of the secret decadent life of Islamic Tehran,deeply researched yet as exciting as a novel
— SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE, Jerusalem: The Biography; Young Stalin; One Night in Winter
The stories are beautiful, and they’re so well-detailed and nuanced
— JON STEWART, The Daily Show
One of the world’s most exciting cities, as revealed by one of journalism’s most exciting women. Navai slips effortlessly into the boots of earthy, urban writer to tour Tehran’s ripped backsides in this intimate, grand guignol debut.
She transports us through the Iranian capital’s multiple personas with deft and knowing navigation: never short of love for even the lowliest of her fellow Tehranis. An intimate and devoted portrait, lifting a beautiful truth from a city masked in lies
— ANTHONY LOYD, Another Bloody Love Letter; My War Gone by, I Miss it So
Navai’s prose is startling ... Navai’s characters observe the wrecked beauty of the world around them. Through these observations, the book is elevated far above typical reportage. She picks up snatches of songs, poems, billboard propaganda and is quick to find the knife and turn the blade on the hypocrisy of the city she knows so well
— ELIZA GRISWOLD, The Sunday Telegraph
This is an important book. A seamless literary tapestry that just happens to be true. Ramita Navai’s collection of stories are uniquely Iranian yet they will move, chill and delight even a reader indifferent to Persia
— SAM KILEY, Desperate Glory; Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor
The sharp narrative style is brilliant and compelling. These are fascinating tales of ingenious survival and self-immolation. People will shoulder the weight of life regardless and in modern Tehran they have extra burdens to bend their backs. This is an amazing book.
— CLAIRE LOOBY, The Irish Times
A talented writer, she quickly sucks us in with her first character ... Navai has a reporter’s eye for the telling detail… this is a timely and beautifully written insight into the lives of Tehranis
— CHRISTINA LAMB, The Sunday Times
Read this if you want to know about life, love and death in Tehran. Ramita Navai has written a fascinating, unforgettable book about the unbreakable human spirit in one of the world’s great cities
— JEREMY BOWEN, BBC Middle East Editor
Fast-paced and saturated with detail ...what she has done is extraordinary
— AZADEH MOAVENI, The Financial Times
This phenomenal work reads more like a collection of long-form journalism than a novel.Pacy and informative, it is an extraordinary insight into a country barely know - and often feared - by the West
Ramita Navai is a courageous reporter and a spellbinding storyteller. In City of Lies she has navigated with bravery and compassion the fault lines of fear and desire that lie behind the façade of modern Tehran. A remarkable book about what it means to live and love under tyranny
— JAMES BRABAZON, My Friend the Mercenary
It is a masterpiece of true tales turned into rich, gripping, vivid narrative. The amazing aspect of the book is that Navai manages to transform every tale into exquisitely detailed, terrible - but somehow wonderful ... There’s something cinematic about Navai’s style.Any one of these stories could be adapted for the big screen as a feature film ... The book is a caution, a tragedy and seduction
— LIZ SMITH, The Chicago Tribune / The Boston Herald
... she has broken taboos and laid bare what everyone knowsbut nobody mentions... She writes well and with fluency, in tight prose mercifully free of Persian hyperbole
— ANTONY WYNN, The Times Literary Supplement
A vivid, heartbreaking insight into survivalunder an oppressive regime.These are stories of characters we might see ourselves in,surviving in circumstances we can’t imagine
— SHAPPI KHORSANDI, A Beginner's Guide to Acting English
This gripping book is a mosaic of such glimpses into a very different world ... the chapters read like utterly compelling short tales, catapulting us imaginatively into the hearts and minds of people we feel we know
— BEL MOONEY, The Daily Mail
City of Lies is thoroughly researched and deeply evocative of place. Navai has a formidable talent as a storyteller.Her stories are by turns comical, intriguing and heart-wrenching.And although there’s a great deal of sadness in the stories she tells, she writes with obvious love for the wondrous variety of life in Tehran
— BIJAN OMRANI, Geographical Magazine
... at the heart of City of Lies is some brilliant reporting. Persuading subjects to talk, even anonymously, is an achievement in a city where betrayal is commonplace and there is always someone watching
The stories are real. But they are written in a lively style that reads like a novel. Navai is impressive as a reporter, finding these characters and convincing them to share their stories. she also is an eloquent writer who uses her subjects to tell the larger tale of degradation of the Iranian culture
Navai writes with punch, providing an immediacy that makes for compulsive page-turning
— BOOKLIST, American Library Association
A darling exposé of what really goes on under the noses of the morality police in this God-fearing city of 12 million… British-Iranian journalist Navai protects the real identities of her subjects, who are as engaging as characters of fiction and reveal, frankly, the charade that living under Sharia law has become since Iran’s Islamic Revolution… Navai offers sharply rendered portraits
[Navai’s] beautifully written book captures the pace, pulse and passions of day-to-day existence
It’s a well-paced, entertaining read. But its fascination mix of characters and its refusal to be distracted by Iran’s many external problems are what make City of Lies truly valuable
Navai, an award-winning journalist, examines a wide range of Tehranis in this collection of beautifully written profiles
Navai paints brilliantly insightful portraits of eight Tehranis
— Jonathan Rugman, Channel 4 News
A carefully crafted non-fiction narrative told with the pace and tone of a novel
— ANDREW BURKE, Financial Review

Translated into five languages

Published in the UK by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Published in the US by PublicAffairs Books
Published in France by Stock
Published in Poland by Prószyński
Published in Switzerland by Kein & Aber
Published in Romania by Editura Polirom
Soon to be Published in Russia by Exmo
Available in English worldwide