The Complete Persepolis presents a candid, stark, and emotionally overwhelming account of a young girl's comiOriginally posted on Across the Litoverse
The Complete Persepolis presents a candid, stark, and emotionally overwhelming account of a young girl's coming of age during Iran's Islamic Revolution in the late twentieth-century. As a young girl attending a secular French school prior to the revolution, Marjane Satrapi offers a chilling account of her sudden switch to a state-occupied education system, and showcases her family's efforts to teach the young girl to question her educators while still taking utter pleasure in attaining knowledge and guarding her dignity as a human being. As an adolescent, Satrapi was then sent to Vienna in a bid to gain a secularized education unavailable to her in Iran; however, once there, her devotion to her homeland is tested in the face of racism and outsiders who would deny her experiences of war. In the end, Satrapi returns to Iran only to find she must exile herself in order to attain the life she desires.
Satrapi's use of black and white inking was an excellent decision on her part—I often found the stark contrast between the two heightened the tension of certain moments, in particular the scenes depicting the most violent moments in her childhood (e.g. representations of massacre, the bombings of her home town, images of young boys sent to die with plastic "keys" to the afterlife, etc.) Also, I found Satrapi's paired-down language and blunt sentences were perfect throughout Persepolis. I was surprised how often a simple phrase could prick the tears from my eyes—I'm not one to cry over books, but I was nearly set over the edge a few times there. For instance, in the first part of Persepolis, the dual presentation of Uncle Anoosh's "bread swan" (literally, a swan fashioned from a piece of bread) gift to Marjane is heartbreaking: first, upon his release from prison, and once again as a memento given before his execution (70). Never have the words "star of my life" brought me so close to the waterworks… Definitely, Persepolis is a remarkable work with haunting moments that are bound to sit with readers for a long time coming.
Ideal for: Readers with a penchant for memoir-ish graphic novels and real life comic works; Scholars with a background in Middle Eastern studies who need a fresh perspective on Iran's Islamic Revolution; Fans of book-to-film adaptations; Teens in need of an eye-opening on the world out there....more
Epic in scope though intimate in its details, A Drifting Life offers an impressive and immersive experience of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's formative years, deEpic in scope though intimate in its details, A Drifting Life offers an impressive and immersive experience of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's formative years, depicting that elusive time before he revolutionized the world of manga with his gritty, cinematic style. Clocking in at a staggering 800+ pages, this illustrated memoir introduces readers to the initial inspiration of the young mangaka in post-WWII Japan and documents his initial success as a grade school artist and his first experiments with manga. We see the young man transform his initial passion into a paid profession and witness his creation of a new school of manga known as Gekiga.
Throughout the piece, Tatsumi takes great effort with his cultural and historical context, often striking new scenes with a tour of Japan's development at the time and locating his personal growth within the greater evolution of his home nation. This is necessary reading for all fans of manga as an expressive medium and offers a nod to the great talent surrounding Tatsumi and his close friends/fellow mangakas in the 1940s and onward.
Ideal for: Manga-obsessed readers who need an education on the roots of this medium; Readers who gravitate toward memoirs; Individuals with an eye toward Japan and its mid-20th-century cultural revolutions....more