Sunday, July 24, 2011


    PERSEPOLIS The Story of a Childhood.      

Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s self portrait of daily life in Iran from the age of six until the age of fourteen, covering the period that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic revolution, through to Iran/Iraq war, highlighting the devastating effect it had on the country & its people. We see this through the eyes of  Marjane an intelligent and outspoken child of committed Marxists ("caviar leftists"), and the granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors. Drawn in black and white, the graphic novel found great popularity following it’s release, and was translated into several languages. The English edition was translated by Blake Ferris and Satrapi's husband, Mattias Ripa.


To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would like this book, my first graphic novel & only picked as an experiment as to whether I’d like such books. As I child I loved comics, read all the usual ones, but I grew up and left such childish things behind (or so I thought). Recently, I’ve seen a lot of Graphic Novels & started to become intrigued by some of them, so after a quick check through the online library I saw this one (having seen the film reviewed on The Culture Show awhile ago).
And yet I loved it, raced through it like an Olympic athlete on banned substances, ruined my literary elitism amongst my work colleagues by going on about “some comic book” instead of the latest translated epic thousand page no one’s ever going to read book, that I normally carry like some badge of office. Loved the stark black and white imagery, the simplicity of the drawings, Loved the humour, the irony, the way the simple everyday reality was put across.

This 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 and closed country. Persepolis is a story about growing up and at the same time a reminder of the price paid by the individual during times of war and political oppression. This is a book of minor revolutions, small acts of rebellions, hidden beneath a regime known only for its rigid dogma and fundamentalism.

Marjane Satrapi(wikipedia)
An Interview with Marjane Satrapi(bookSlut)


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I can't agree with you enough on how amazing this book is. Like you, it was my first graphic novel (and I haven't read another since) so I didn't know what to expect. But it blew me away.

You should watch the film, it's very faithful to the style of the book.

Anonymous said...

This book is on my wishlist- it sounds really good.

Does the fact it's a graphic novel make the bleak bits more manageable - as it seems the drawings make the story a little childish?

I wonder how it compares to a written story. No, I don't read graphic novels very often either, especially a more serious one like this.

Em said...

I'm very fussy with drawings when I read comics or graphic novels. I have started the Essex County trilogy and, even though I am not specially fan of the drawings, I like the story. Maybe a change of taste is happening here?

gina said...

THis was my first graphic novel as well! I was naive enough to think that you could only have gore or absurd topics in graphic novel/comic book format. I was proved wrong, obviously.

I've read half of the Sandman series--it's so expansive and I love that you can find myth, and a little bit of creepiness, and even Shakespeare in it. I totally recommend the series.

Also, Y: The Last Man, The Walking Dead, and of course the Watchmen. And if you want even more recommendations, Fables and Unwritten are great series as well!

Novroz said...

Nice review Parish.
I never have problems with Graphic Novel as I love it as much as I love novels. I considered Manga as Graphic novel and comic refers to those superheroes comic book from US. I grew up reading Manga and never left it behind even though I am now more than 30 years old.

As you know I have seen the movies and haven't read the book yet. I am curious with it as it has different art style compare to Manga. European graphic novels are unique and have their own style