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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return Paperback – Aug 2 2005

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; Reprint edition (Aug. 2 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714665
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.4 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Part one of Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel found her surviving war, the Islamic Revolution, religious oppression and the execution of several close friends. If part two covers less traumatic events, it's also more subtle and, in some ways, more moving. Sent by her liberal, intellectual parents from Tehran to Vienna to get an education and escape the religious police, rebellious but vulnerable teenage Satrapi learns about secular freedom's pitfalls. Struggling in school, falling in with misfits and without a support group, she ends up dealing drugs for a boyfriend and eventually finds herself homeless on the streets. Forced to return to Iran, Satrapi must once again take up the veil, but learns to live within the constraints of her native land, which border on the surreal. For instance, while Satrapi's racing to catch a bus, the religious police tell her to stop running so her bottom doesn't make "obscene" movements. "Well, then, don't look at my ass!" she angrily responds. The book's cornerstone is her relationship with her parents, who seem to have enough faith in her to let her make the wrong decisions, as when she marries an egotistical artist. Satrapi's art is deceptively simple: it's capable of expressing a wide range of emotion and capturing subtle characterization with the bend of a line. Poignant and unflinching, this is a universally insightful coming-of-age story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–In Persepolis:The Story of a Childhood (Pantheon, 2003), Satrapi vividly described her early life in Iran. This second installment covers the period after the 1979 Revolution when, at 14, she was sent to Vienna for a freer education than that allowed in her newly fundamentalist country. At first, the distinct differences in her life were overwhelming and exciting. During the next four years, she made new friends, some very liberal and some quite conservative, had several relationships, became increasingly aware of the sexual freedom of her new milieu, and even dealt drugs for a boyfriend. Eventually, she ended up living on the streets. She became ill and returned home, a somewhat liberated 18-year-old in a repressive land. She married, mistakenly thinking that would allow her freedom, and graduated from art school. At the end of this volume, feeling out of place in her homeland and unhappy in her marriage, she has divorced and is preparing to move to France with the blessing of her understanding parents. (A third volume is soon to be translated.) Satrapi's simple-seeming, black-and-white drawings add a surprisingly expressive depth to her already compelling story. Teens will appreciate this memoir on many levels, identifying with the feelings of alienation and misunderstanding, if not the actual events. Young people who have had to flee to new environments will identify even more.–Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this second volume Satrapi continues her biography. In the first (five stars) she recalled her childhood in Iran. The second consists of her sojourn in Austria as a teenager and her return to Iran and life up to her twenty-second year ending with her departure for Europe. A third and fourth volume have now been published. She wrote these from the safety of France from where she now writes for newspapers and magazines worldwide.

These volumes are written in the style of comic strip panels with word balloons supplemented by blocks text. All letters are in hand printed capitals which makes it slower to read. The art is childish, starkly simplistic, in bold black and white, often distorted. Few would buy these books for the graphic art but it does serve the purpose well in illustrating the narrative. Despite its starkness, Satrapi’s art manages to convey mood and nuance—joy, excitement, anger, fear, depression, etc.

She is raised in an upper middle class non-religious family, liberal in its outlook but functionally respective of tradition. Her parents allow her a lot of freedom and those who want to read these books to explore religious fundamentalism within the Islamic family setting would be disappointed. Her grandmother is her wise mentor. Her father is a good listener and provides stability. Her mother is flighty and has less of a supportive influence. Satrapi is utterly honest about her thoughts and actions; her addictions, conflicts, foibles and dishonesties are hung out for the reader to see and judge. But her dreams, hopes and plans are also revealed. Her quirky self-deprecating humour plays a large role in lightening the daunting and oppressive environment. Iranians are continually oppressed by the regime which is dominated by ultra conservative fundamentalist Mullahs.
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It was okay... I did like the story line... But I felt there could be something more to the story
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Format: Paperback
Revolutionary work. Nothing like it. A glimpse about the modern history of Iran in comic strips. A must have.
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I thought the book I brought is brand new, but it turned out a second hand one. Somebody wrote notes on the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa196f990) out of 5 stars 130 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa20679f0) out of 5 stars God, country and family. Sept. 7 2004
By Harry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Almost a generation after Art Spiegelman's Maus showed comic books can pack more punch than words alone. Persepolis is the closest thing from you'll ever see from Maus. Both are amazing literary works portraying extraordinary real lives witnessing history unfold. Both done by chain-smokers.

At the end of the first Persepolis I cried. I can't remember a regular book that gave me such emotion before, if ever (I also cried at Maus).

As an immigrant, I identify with Sartrapi more than with any author I've ever read. Maybe because her experiences with loneliness, heartbreak and xenophobia are so vivid they just jump out of the pages.

One thing that's very evident in every page of the book is her immense patriotism. Her country is as part of what she is as much as her family. Thank God for that, because now there's a point of view of Iran little known to Westerners. And it's available in your bookstore. As a comic.

My highest recommendation. Run to get a copy. I hope publishers now realize this art form is here to stay.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3848e58) out of 5 stars Fantastic sequel to a modern classic! Sept. 15 2004
By S. Calhoun - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has read Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood has undoubtedly looked forward to reading any future material from this talented author/artist. Marjane Satrapi possesses a unique skill of profound biographical storytelling and inventive artwork. In her first graphic novel Satrapi remarkably recounted her childhood of growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. Her liberal middle-class parents helped shape her perceptions of the world and encouraged her to reach her potential regardless of the multiple barriers that limit her everyday choices and actions. It quickly becomes apparent that Marjane is deeply proud of her country but simultaneously saddened by the actions of the fundamentalist Islamic government.

PERSEPOLIS 2: THE STORY OF A RETURN picks off where Persepolis 1 ended. Marjane is sent by her parents to study in Vienna, Austria to escape the bombings and uncertainty of the Iran-Iraq War. As she integrates herself into her new life she experiences a sense of lost identity as she straddles between the West and Iran. Her steadfast pride of being Iranian continues in the face of prejudice and misinformation. Although she has physically grown up her intensity remains.

I was very fortunate to meet Marjane Satrapi at a book reading two nights ago. She is both articulate and compassionate about her life and her perceptions of current geopolitical events. Also, she was very funny and had the audience laughing many times at her varied quirkiness. Her life story is inspirational and sticks with you long after her books are put back on the shelf. Highly recommended!
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1dafd80) out of 5 stars A Must-Read, but Less Charming Than the First Persepolis Oct. 4 2004
By K. Yuen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
DON'T READ THIS BOOK (Story of a Return) UNLESS YOU'VE ALREADY READ THE FIRST PERSEPOLIS (Story of a Childhood). It's important to bond with the child Marjane and to understand where the characters are coming from before heading into this book. Also, the first one is essentially perfect, which can be said about so few books.


The Story of a Return provides insight into modern Iranian culture, the effects of the Iraq-Iran war, and the differences between the West and Iran as Marjane repeatedly integrates herself into an unfamiliar land. (Iran may be home, but it's strange to her when she returns.) We also witness the slurs and descrimination she endures as a Middle Easterner in Europe, and it induces brings a deep sense of horror in the reader on Marjane's behalf.

Some find the second book equal to the first. I disagree. It is no fault of the author's; she applies equal skill and talent to both books. The material is fundamentally different. The Story of a Childhood has a child's and pre-teen's whimsy flowing through it, and the characters are still relatively innocent and opimistic despite the path of the country. In The Story of a Return, the author tries to include some of the imaginings that brought such a charming whimsy to her first memoir, but it is harder with an older main character. The humor has to come from elsewhere, and is therefore harder to find. Her experiences seem harsher to the reader, since she is experiencing them directly, instead of the close calls or indirect experiences of the first Persepolis. And because Marjane is older, we become more judgemental of her mistakes, which also darkens the tone of the book.

Well worth reading, but one feels a sense of loss when comparing it to the first.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa196dc54) out of 5 stars portrait of the artist/ portrait of a self Nov. 26 2004
By Vince Leo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the persepolis books (I & II) are more than the life of an iranian girl told in comic form; they're also the story of an artist finding her self in a globalized society. marjane satrapi saw the worst of the islamic revolution as a child, and eventually her parents sent her to convent school in vienna to escape. but from the brittle moralisms of the nuns to the ban on nude models in art classes, marjane makes it more than apparent that the west doles out more than its share of senseless, self-serving rules and regulations.

satrapi wrings every bit of irony, humor, and pathos out the combination of first person narration and graphics. her characterizations are always clear but never cliched and her break-neck narrative style (growing 2 feet in three small frames) depends on both text and graphic for meaning. most importantly we are watching the artist learn how to become an artist, looking at the development not only of a singular spirit but also of a globalized sensibility. satrapi owes as much to iranian storytelling as she does to western graphic art, and it's no surprise that her books (like most comics) are easily translated and easier to digest in translation.

if satrapi's form travels well, her narrative travels even better. frame by frame, page by page, satrapi struggles first to do what she wants and then just to survive. between the crummy boyfriend and the marijuana smoke, the informers and the morality police, a self takes shape. part western teenager, part islamic mystic, satrapi is a true hybrid, something entirely different than her antecedents. her story is not about east or west, north or south, pictures or words, but about integration; the struggle of every young person caught between innnocence and the hate machines we know as political structures. a portrait of the artist without borders, persepolis II is its own war on terror, fought with pen and ink and dedicated to brave hearts and free spirits everywhere.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1d3c138) out of 5 stars An honest coming-of-age tale of biculturalism... Oct. 8 2004
By MBoogie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I wrote a review for the first Persepolis as well. I enjoyed the second greatly. This is a big statement, being that I was so impressed by the first that I had huge expectations of the 2nd, and could have easily been dissappointed. This book is honest in showing clashes between Eastern and Western cultures and an adolescent's reactions to these clashes. Ms. Satrapi whets the appetite for understanding the different types of Iranians: the traditionalists, the religious, the modern people, those who've returned from expatriation. She touches on the issue of women's role in Iran. As an Iranian, I can vouch for most of Marjane's accounts, as interactions like she's had are not so uncommon. Many Iranians left the country at young ages after the revolution and during the war. Many have seen what Marjane has and it's really the voice of a generation. You may understand your Iranian neighbors better if you read this book. I also know tons of other nationalities and cultures who have similar experiences with their expatriation. Marjane expresses many different aspects of the coming-of-age process in short, concise chapters which manage to keep their wit, charm and creative expression of the first book. Read and enjoy!