Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane’s child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
The critics made the inevitable comparisons to MAUS when reviewing this graphic novel-style memoir. But this deeply personal child's-eye view of Iran during the fall of the Shah deserves to be considered in its own right. Marjane Satrapi is related both to the old Persian royal family and to Communist rebels. Therefore, it's not surprising that she was raised a sheltered child of privilege and educated to be independent-minded. Unfortunately, the unpleasant realities of life in '70s and '80s Iran--violent demonstrations, imprisonment and executions of relatives and family friends, bombings by Iraq--continually keep intruding into that sheltered life. And neither the repressive regime of the Shah nor the even more repressive fundamentalist Islamic regime that follows is a good place for an independent mind to speak out. Despite Marjane's deep love for and loyalty to her country, does she truly belong there anymore? The black-and-white illustrations, reminiscent of woodcuts, manage to be both childlike and sophisticated and work intimately with the text to provide both a physical and emotional landscape.
- Biography + Autobiography
- April 1, 2003
- April 1, 2003
- Marjane Satrapi