Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zahra's Paradise” as Want to Read:
Zahra's Paradise
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Zahra's Paradise

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,673 Ratings  ·  255 Reviews
Set in the aftermath of Iran’s fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahra’s Paradise is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has vanished into an extrajudicial twilight zone. What’s keeping his memory from being obliterated is not the law. It is the grit and guts of his mother, who refuses to surrender her son to fate, and the tenacity of his broth
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by First Second (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zahra's Paradise, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Zahra's Paradise

The Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiHark! A Vagrant by Kate BeatonPride of Baghdad by Brian K. VaughanMaus I by Art Spiegelman
History through graphic novels
104th out of 327 books — 266 voters
Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
437th out of 2,238 books — 5,227 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 29, 2013 Laleh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
On Iran's 2009 presidential election aftermath. As far as graphic novels go, this is a very well done book, and as far as historic fictions go, it seems to be historically sound and to have a powerful story line.
For me, reading Zahra's Paradise has brought back so many painful memories. Yet I believe what happened in that bloody summer should be told again and again, and never be forgotten.
Feb 08, 2014 Lio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هذه هي الأيام الجيدة، التي تستيقظ فيها صباحاً، تلتقي صديقة، تعطيك كتاباً انتظرته، تمسكه حتى ينتهي، أنا أتحيز للكوميكس على حساب أي أعمال أدبية/فنية أخرى، لذا لا أملك التقييم إلا بما ترتضيه ذائقتي فقط.
الثبت بأسماء الشهداء في آخر الرواية، طبع ليلتي ببهجة حزينة أو حزن بهيج، شعرتُ ارتياحاً ما أنّهم لم يُنسوا.
Jun 17, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
Blessed are the truthseekers and truth tellers, especially those who risk not only their own lives and voices, but those of family and friends, in the pursuit of the real story, particularly in the face of vicious, oppressive tyrannies, whether religiously fanatical or simply power hungry. The people of the great country of Iran have suffered enormously under the rule of the mullahs and their basij stormtroopers, and the world was stunned by the execution of Neda on a Tehran street on 20 June 20 ...more
First Second Books
Aug 03, 2011 First Second Books marked it as first-second-publications
We're very proud of this book -- which the authors have created to be in itself a revolutionary document about political upheaval and what an individual's role in it can ultimately be.
Mohamed Elmasry
Dec 19, 2014 Mohamed Elmasry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
في أكتوبر 2012، كُنت أُحضَّر موضوعاً في ذكرى شهداء محمد محمود، أحد أكثر ما تبقى في قلبي هو والدة الشهيد "محمد بشر أنور" وهي تحكي عن تأخره، وذهابها للبحث عنه، وقتها وصفت ذلك بأنها "تلك الليلة التي لن تنساها، والتي قضتها تُلاحق الأمل الذي يتضاءل بوجوده حياً، هرولت إلى التحرير حين تأخر وأخبرها أحد أصدقاءه أنه هناك، دعت أن تجده في الشارع وبين الناس ولم تجده، فدعت أن تجده بين المصابين في المستفياتِ ولم تجده، فذهبت إلى المشرحة وهي تدعو ألا تجده، ووجدته."

في الرواية، وسط رحلة "أم مهدي" للبحثِ عنه.. كنت
Ahmed Wael
Mar 21, 2014 Ahmed Wael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
لا تخلو قراءة تجارب الكوميكس الإيرانية من جاذبية مضاعفة، سببها سحر هذا الفن البصري من ناحية، وغواية كشف هذا المجتمع المغلق والبعيد عنّا من ناحية أخرى

وإن كانت هذه التجارب ستظل مرتبطة لفترة، بتجارب قادمة من خارج "الجمهورية الإسلامية"، حيث كانت البداية مع "برسبوليس" لمرجان ساترابي، السيرة الذاتية للرسامة الفرنسية الإيرانية (صدرت الطبعة الفرنسية العام 2000)، مع رسمها لطفولتها في ظل نشأة الجمهورية عن طريق الظلال، والسواد المهيمن على العالم البصري، والآن تتجدد هذه الجاذبية مع كوميكس يكشف المجتمع نفسه
Oct 25, 2014 maha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, politics
قصة مصورة تعطي وجها لمعاناة الشعب الايراني مع الحكم الاسلامي، تحدث في الوقت الحاضر وبعد أحداث مقتل ندى أغا-سلطان، التي أصبحت وجها لجميع الشباب الايراني الذي اختفى في سجون الحكومة

قصة بحث أم عن ابنها، تروى من وجهة نظر اخوه الأكبر..

لا تخلوا من المشاهد الطريفة والتي تعمل هوماج لأيسكر
Escher - Relativity, 1953
ولوحة مايكل أنجلو "خلق ادم"
Michelangelo's creation of Adam
والتي تصور دور الخميني عندما أنزل الوحي على اتباعه من بعده، ومن ضمن هذه الايحات استخدام الرافعة لشنق الناس في كل مكان

الشخصيات تنضح بال
Anna Hakopian t (-_-t)
Oct 26, 2015 Anna Hakopian t (-_-t) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: june-2015
Rarely are class assigned reading any fun. I would like to say these last five weeks of my six-week summer session has been intense. I expected to bullshit through all my assignments but I enjoyed it so much. Who knew how much fun it would be to read feminist texts, a transgender/lesbian story, El Salvadorian and Middle Eastern poetry, and an Iranian graphic novel? If I had to name my most favorite read it would be this one.

I think schools need to start incorporating this into their required re
مصطفي سليمان
دايما بفكر
الاختيار ما بين
دائما محصور ما بين ثنائية الفاشيات الاشهر
الدينية و العسكرية ؟

ايه هو الدافع؟ ليه اختار ما بين نفس المعسكر اللي بيتسخدم نفس المبررات السخفية الوسخة للدقة اللغوية

نفس الكلام

اللي قتل المتظاهرين اجانب
الرصاص لم يكن ايراني
محاكم ثورية

ف النهاية مقابر لا معروفة الهوية

ف النهاية لولا العلاقات حتي مش هتعرف فين جثة ابنك

رحلة يومية من السجن للمعتقل للمشرحة للمستشفي
تخيل ان املك بس انه ميكونش ف المشرحة
بس كدا
دا امل

كل دا باسم ايه؟
او علشان ايه؟

انا كفرت بكل المبررات وكل الكلام الفارغ
If you're looking for a book to break your heart, this might be the one. Flashback a few years to the Iranian elections and subsequent protests. A young man, Medhi, has gone missing. His brother, a blogger, and his mother set out to find him. Their journey takes the reader across Tehran and into prisons, morgues and mass graves. It's an unflinching look at the effects of government corruption intertwined with Shari'a law, told with absolute respect for those trapped in the crossfire. It is as mu ...more
Danielle (iamhorriblylimited)
This graphic novel broke my heart, and opened my eyes to the aftermath of the presidential elections in Iran. These events were something that didn't happen in the 30s or 40s like the Holocaust. This was in 2009! A mere 6 years ago!
The beginning of this novel had me in tears, and those tears didn't stop until I finished the book. Zahra and Hassan are desperately trying to find Mehdi, Zahra's son and Hassan's younger brother. Mehdi was on his way to Tehran University, his entrance exams were next
Hoda Marmar
Too propaganda-ish, Islamophobic, racist, disrespectful, and politically-biased for my taste.
It suggests that Afghan Muslims kill small puppies in order to go to heaven, that Arabs are violent and inhumane, that the Iranian army is a militia, that the Ayatollahs are crows who feed on people's bodies, etc...
In the tradition of many Iranian/American authors who get publicity in the West, especially the US, for bashing the Iranian regime, this book pleads against a 'very cruel' regime that has 'cr
Fredrik Strömberg
Zahra’s Paradise is a beautiful, moving story about the repercussions of the tumultuous election in Iran 2009. The story follows a courageous mother of a boy who, like so many, disappears after taking part in the demonstrations that followed the election. Through her and her younger son's struggles with everything from grueling bureaucracy to the violent actions of an all-out dictatorship, to find out what has actually happened, the author and the artist paints a bleak but still somehow hopeful ...more
Ahmed Salem
Mar 02, 2014 Ahmed Salem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
قالت لى صديقتى و انا احدثها عن الرواية " لما كانوا بيقولوا ان فلان مفقود، عمرى ما قدرت احسها .. يعنى ايه مفقود ؟؟ يعنى ايه انسان مش لاقينه ؟؟ و أهله بيلفوا عليه بلا جدوى؟" كنا نمر وقتها بجانب احد جدران وسط البلد و كتب عليه "هنلاقيهم ... حملة لايجاد المفقودين"
هذه الرواية تتحدث عن الاختفاء، المفقودين .. مهدى الذى خرج محتجا على تزوير الانتخابات الرئاسية الايرانية .. فلم يعد
و يبحث عنه أخوه و أمه ...بلا جدوى
قصة مهدى هى قصة الكثيرون من المفقودين و المختفيين
زرت ايران فى 2012 ... كان الحرس يحيطوننا ح
Lee Razer
Feb 12, 2012 Lee Razer rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
It's a tremendously important story to tell, and the book does an okay job of it. If the reader did not closely follow the protests and resulting repression in Iran in 2009 then a lot will be learned here. Comparing it to Persepolis, since I read this one closely following on from the other, Zahra's Paradise is the more impersonal, which for me knocks it down a couple notches. It is not a memoir but rather the story of a "typical" student who took part in the protests and was unluckily one of th ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Minli rated it really liked it
I finished this graphic novel on the subway home from work last night, where I sat sniffling pathetically reading the afterword among a throng of commuters. I don't know what led me to pick it up--though I do stalk First Second because their projects are so interesting--since I usually shy away from this kind of book. I read for many reasons, but after being traumatized by The Rape of Nanking when I was sixteen, I find reading books about civil unrest, war, violence and rape terribly difficult. ...more
“What mattered to us when we started this project, and what matters to us now, is witnessing the plight and reversing the tragedy that has befallen the Iranian people. That tragedy is personal. Its details and dimensions are unfathomable. It is also legal, political, religious, and cultural.

It was hard for us, like millions of other people outside Iran, to watch Iranian mothers and fathers grieve over the loss of their sons and daughters in Zahra’s Paradise – the actual cemetery – and not feel s
Feb 19, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Personally, I don't know much about Iran or its political climate except that it has been and is in the throes of revolution. I know more now. The true value of this book is not that it is an incredibly well written graphic novel or that it tells an difficult story of the experience of students during the 2009 elections, although, both would make it an important book. Its true value is in illustrating the power of ordinary individuals to use social media and the internet to tell stories that wer ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Petergiaquinta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This weekend Iran announced the election of its new president, Hasan Rowhani, so today was the perfect day to read Zahra's Paradise, a graphic novel telling the story of a family's relentless search through the streets and hospitals of Tehran, its prisons and government offices, its morgue and cemeteries, for their son who has disappeared from Freedom Square in the wake of the disputed June 2009 elections when Ahmadinejad was returned to the presidency despite overwhelming concerns of election f ...more
Christine Edison
Oct 22, 2012 Christine Edison rated it it was amazing
Although I don't know a lot about the 2009 riots, I was moved by this graphic novel. Zahra's Paradise is a powerful and personal statement made by its author and artist, who remain anonymous due to fear of reprisals by the government of Iran.

The story takes place in the chaos just after the 2009 riots, but the themes explored are universal. A mother struggles to find out anything about what happened to her son, searching hospitals, morgues, and a prison. Her other son does everything he can to
Mar 21, 2013 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphicnovels
This book brought up so many complex emotions for me...I don't know where to start. It is beautiful and haunting. Like Maus or Palestine, but set in the now. This is happening now.

In 2009 Iranian's took to the streets to protest Ahmadinejad's electoral "victory." I remember images on the news of crowds swathed in green; an upheaval I couldn't fully fathom. The scene quickly changed to sports or the Kardashians or the latest political talking points. No depth. No history. No follow up. Zahra's P
Kristine Gift
Sep 02, 2013 Kristine Gift rated it it was amazing
On the cover of this book is a quote from NPR comparing Zahra's Paradise to the celebrated graphic novels Maus and Persepolis and this comparison is a completely deserved one. Amir and Khalil tell a heart-wrenching story of loss, corruption, fear and terrorism set during the 2009 election revolts in Iran (which arguably kicked off the Arab Spring). The story was riveting, but you question the possibility of a happy ending through the entire novel. This book was eye-opening and, while a work of f ...more
Mahmoud Radi
Nov 30, 2014 Mahmoud Radi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books
هذه الرواية تعيد لﻷذهان اﻷسباب التي جعلتنا نعشق رواية (بيرسوبولس) لمراجان ساترابي حتى مع اختلاف منظور كل منهما، ففي حين أن (بيرسوبولس) تتخذ منظوراً ذاتياً هو نفس منظور مؤلفة الرواية لمجريات اﻷحداث في إيران قبل وبعد الثورة وتأثيرها على تطور التجربة الشخصية للكاتبة، تحاول (فردوس الزهراء) تتبع المسارات التي يتخذها اﻹيرانيون لنفسهم، ليس فقط خلال فترة الانتفاضة الخضراء في عام 2009، وإنما بشكل عام، من خلال رحلة بحث لاهثة ومنهكة يسلكها اﻷخ واﻷم للبحث عن (مهدي) الذي اختفى منذ اندلاع الانتفاضة ولم يعثر ل ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Josh rated it it was amazing
In my two decades as an educator, I have been constantly amazed by the communicative power conveyed through the simplest of media. I read the entire text in ninety minutes, as a cursory evaluation for future use in my classes. Now that I have decided to implement the book into my courses, I will be spending hours poring over the lyric passages, the latent images, and the beautiful depiction of a modern day societal destruction. Read this book. At least a few times.
May 26, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing
WOW, wow, and wow. Somewhere between Persepolis and Habibi in both terms of artistic style and writing. This GN tells the true (though fictionalized/names changed/etc. for the purpose of this book) story of the 2009 Tehran protests following the election, and the government organized massacre that followed. While the focus of the story is on a single missing student, the stories of women and men from all walks of life intertwine here to show a much larger picture. 5 stars, easy.
Laila Haerian
May 10, 2012 Laila Haerian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I always wondered how come there is no body writing a book about all those terrible events that happened and still happening ... for the world to know and to remember. I know there have been many articles, blog post and ... but not a book like this and here you go, this is one ... I hope there will be more and more books like this ... to tell and re-tell all the things that people have been experiencing ....
Great job Amir and Khalil!

Liked the way it ended with mehdi and Yasmin's baby born ... H
Dec 01, 2015 Shantanu rated it it was amazing
One of the toughest books I read this year.
May 22, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
A mother’s quest for a missing son in the aftermath of Iran’s Stolen Elections.

Tehran, Iran, June 2009: After one of the great street protests following the elections, a young man called Mehdi has vanished. His mother, Zahra, and his brother – a blogger and our narrator – search for him desperately. Their quest will take them through the labyrinthine corridors of a cruel regime.

From hospitals to the morgue, from pleading with corrupt bureaucrats to hacking into a prison’s computers, nothing can
Madison Locke
Jun 24, 2015 Madison Locke rated it really liked it
Zahra’s Paradise is an engaging graphic novel written by Amir and illustrated by Khalil. The book follows the fictional story of a blogger Hassan and his mother Zahra on the search for their missing brother/son Mehdi. In the wake of the controversial election of 2009, there were many protesters that suddenly went missing; Mehdi was one of them. The author and illustrator give us a firsthand experience of walking through the city of Tehran after the riots. Zahra desperately searches in the hospit ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Massive demonstration erupted in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian election. The government, the police and the paramilitary militia cracked down hard on the protesters. Many were beaten and many more disappeared. The pseudonymous authors set their fictional tale during these tense weeks in June and July of that year. A young man, Mehdi, has disappeared. His brother chronicles the search that his mother and he make to find their brother and son in a blog titled “Zahra's Paradise,” the name of “a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media
  • Daybreak
  • Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey
  • The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti
  • The Silence of Our Friends
  • How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less
  • A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return
  • The Year of the Beasts
  • Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations, Part One: 1783-1953
  • Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling
  • Unterzakhn
  • The Photographer
  • Americus
  • Axe Cop, Vol. 1
  • Waltz With Bashir: A Lebanon War Story
  • Footnotes in Gaza
  • A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
  • Pavement Chalk Artist: The Three-Dimensional Drawings of Julian Beever

Share This Book