Leonardo's Reviews > Persepolis

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
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Apr 05, 11

bookshelves: ancient-civilizations, biography, asia, comics-and-graphic-novels, history, humour, illustrated-books, islam, movies-and-tv, politics, pop-culture, spirituality-religion, favorites
Recommended for: Graphic novel enthusiasts, anyone interested in contemporary Muslim culture
Read from February 07 to March 28, 2011, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Like many outside the French-speaking world, I became aware of Perspepolis, after watching the wonderful movie adaptation of this powerful graphic biography. The use of a star palette perfectly matches the oppression that the characters and their country increasingly undergo as the story of a young Iranian girl in the aftermath of the Shah's downfall turns into the clash of a young adult with a world where religious zealots and the aftermath of the Iran-Irak war seem to have permanently violated the spirit of an ancient nation. Satrapi gracefully balances black and white to match the events of her life, from the bombing of Teheran, to her family and love life. While this book is certainly illustrated as a comic book, the composition of certain images is certainly artistic (as all good comic books and graphic novels are, of course).

The account and recreation of Satrapi's childhood in Iran on the brink of change, her confused/rebellious teenager years in Europe, and her early-adulthood clash with an Iran that no longer held a place for the independent and questioning woman that she had become is a heartbreaking tale, yet (like the movie "No One Knows About Persian Cats") one may find a sparkle of hope in a country and a society that are otherwise perceived (from the Western world) as a monochromatic/one-dimensional world where everyone is happy to obey the Ayatollah in turn, and women are numbed slaves who delight in wearing head-to-toes veils. Indeed, Marjane Satrapi herself had to leave her country, but this graphic novel is decidedly Iranian (if not in form, very much so in subject matter and background) and a remainder that Iran and Iranians are far more complex than any caricature made of them.
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