Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Paperback – Jun 1 2004
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Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is an exemplary autobiographical graphic novel, in the tradition of Art Spiegelman's classic Maus. Set in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, young Satrapi is the six-year-old daughter of two committed and well-to-do Marxists. As she grows up, she witness first-hand the effects that the revolution and the war with Iraq have on her home, family and school.
Like Maus, the main strength of Persepolis is its ability to make the political personal.
Told through the eyes of a child (as reflected in Satrapi's simplistic yet expressive black-and-white artwork), young Marjane learns about her family history and how it is entwined with the history of Iran, and watches her liberal parents cope with a fundamentalist regime that gets increasingly rigid as it gains more power. Outspoken and intelligent, Marjane chafes at Iran's increasingly conservative interpretation of Islamic law, especially as she grows into a bright and independent teenager. Throughout, Marjane remains a hugely likeable young woman
Persepolis gives the reader a snapshot of daily life in a country struggling with an internal cultural revolution and a bloody war, but within an intensely personal context. It's a very human history, beautifully and sympathetically told. --Robert Burrow --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Satrapi's autobiography is a timely and timeless story of a young girl's life under the Islamic Revolution. Descended from the last Emperor of Iran, Satrapi is nine when fundamentalist rebels overthrow the Shah. While Satrapi's radical parents and their community initially welcome the ouster, they soon learn a new brand of totalitarianism is taking over. Satrapi's art is minimal and stark yet often charming and humorous as it depicts the madness around her. She idolizes those who were imprisoned by the Shah, fascinated by their tales of torture, and bonds with her Uncle Anoosh, only to see the new regime imprison and eventually kill him. Thanks to the Iran-Iraq war, neighbors' homes are bombed, playmates are killed and parties are forbidden. Satrapi's parents, who once lived in luxury despite their politics, struggle to educate their daughter. Her father briefly considers fleeing to America, only to realize the price would be too great. "I can become a taxi driver and you a cleaning lady?" he asks his wife. Iron Maiden, Nikes and Michael Jackson become precious symbols of freedom, and eventually Satrapi's rebellious streak puts her in danger, as even educated women are threatened with beatings for improper attire. Despite the grimness, Satrapi never lapses into sensationalism or sentimentality. Skillfully presenting a child's view of war and her own shifting ideals, she also shows quotidian life in Tehran and her family's pride and love for their country despite the tumultuous times. Powerfully understated, this work joins other memoirs-Spiegelman's Maus and Sacco's Safe Area Goradze-that use comics to make the unthinkable familiar.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first image in "Persepolis" is the same image you see on its cover. Marjane sits wearing a veil in 1980 for the first time. As the story continues, Marjane explains her own beginnings as well as the beginning of the "Cultural Revolution". In her own life, Marjane was an only child of middle class intellectual parents. She experienced the usual childhood ups and downs. Sometimes she believed she was God's next chosen prophet. Other times she wanted to demonstrate with her parents in the street against the Shah. Over the course of her childhood Marjane learns more about the limits of class in Iran as well as the secrets behind her family history. She finds that her grandfather was a prince, her uncle a political prisoner for years, and her parents far braver than she ever expected. Marjane deals with the danger of challenging authority under the rule of religious extremists while growing up as a normal girl.Read more ›
Satrapi's autobiographicalized self and society act both with wisdom and foolishness both before and after the revolution. The Iranian revolution meant to replace an unpopular government with one more responsive to the people's will. Until reading this book, I was unaware of any particular details of Iran during their revolution - mostly because I am a Westerner and generally not privy to accounts of day-to-day life in the Mid-East. On that basis, the cultural relativists may be right that I have no foundation on which to critically analyze the current state of Iran. Thankfully, however, Satrapi can criticize - using both an insider's and outsider's perspective. Satrapi undermines the denial of standards posited by cultural relativists by showing the reader that standards of comparison do indeed exist: standards related to varying degrees of freedom of expression, of decision, and from coercion. Satrapi's criticism is much more subtle than "old way good, new way bad." Instead, she draws for the reader situation after situation where real people are swept along with the flash flood of a revolution.Read more ›
Other books to read are: Nightmares Echo, Dry,Reading Lolita,Running With Scissors
As an iranian american, I always hear stories from my parents/relatives/acquaintances on what happened - events leading up to the revolution - and life in iran afterwards - but how often do you hear the story from that 12 yr old's voice? There were a lot of funny episodes that made me laugh out loud...and a lot of parts where you feel genuine empathy for her. There were some very sweet moments with marjane's uncle or grandmother where you actually feel that connection and can relate it to yourself.
Marjane shows the effects of the revolution on her family and day to day life...seeing friends drafted or imprisoned - and witnessing many fleeing to America. It's a story that we've all seen and heard (and is not unique to Iranians) yet it's refreshing and bittersweet at the same time. She keeps the story alive and light with her mishaps at school, with friends, and with her childhood adventures.
I loved this book. It's a quick read, but that comic-book format of it will actually make the story and images really stay in your mind.
Most recent customer reviews
Satrapi's graphic novel chronicling her childhood is an excellent read both if you're interested in the history of this area of the world and if you're interested in reading a good... Read morePublished 17 months ago by AliKira
A real page turner. Made me want to learn more about this period of history. Very engrossing and told from a unique perspective.Published 20 months ago by chughes
I was hesiatant to read persepolis, thinking, that despite it being a graphic novel, it would be dry. and even boring at times. but i was very wrong. Read morePublished on June 9 2009 by Laura Tobin
Persepolis is the first and only graphic novel I have read but I found it to be really enjoyable! A great read which uses humour and sarcasm to construct Sartrapi's... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2009 by J. Pollock
I read it al in two days. it was good. I enjoyed it. Probably the first school book I liked.Published on July 29 2005 by Alex
As an iranian who has lived in similar years as Marjane is talking about, I could totally relate to what she says... Read morePublished on July 17 2004
I have grown up in the same neighborhood and experienced the very same stories that Marjane has shared with us. Read morePublished on June 29 2004 by Popak
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