The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Book Reviews: "Persepolis" and "Persepolis 2" by Marjane Satrapi

I read these books consecutively - in fact I bought them as a box set - and I really enjoyed them. It gives us a genuinely intimate portrait of what life was like growing up in Iran, first under the Shah's right-wing dictatorship, then during the Islamic revolution which led to a clerical state and through the war with Iraq. The two-part memoir takes us from 1980 when Marjane was 10 years old through the 1990s when she's become a woman who had endured exile at a young age and a return to her country.

Because these are illustrated novels there isn't as much depth as there would be in a traditional novel. The characters aren't fleshed out in the narrative because we have the visual element available. And the visual element is wonderful. Through the relatively simple drawings the fear, turmoil, frustration and even humor of Marjane and her friends and family are easily identified and enrich the story tremendously.

At first I had a problem with the writing style. Having just read "Middlesex" which is filled with nuance and a more complex writing style, the direct and simple prose of the Persepolis books were a huge contrast. However, the more I read the more I became comfortable with the style, pacing and rhythm.

I would definitely recommend that these books be read together as a valuable introduction an overview of the history and traditions of Iran, as well as for the wonderful story of a little girl growing up in an impossibly complex and frightening environment.



Blogger Muffy St. Bernard said...

A friend just loaned me "Persepolis," because she loves graphic novels and considers it to be one of the best...I haven't had a chance to start it yet.

It seemed sort of strange giving her "Swamp Thing" in exchange, but oh well...

8:53 AM  
Blogger Hilda said...

muffy - try and read Persepolis 2 immediately after the first one.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Katya said...

Hilda: Did you know Satrapi is making these into a movie?

2:31 PM  
Blogger Hilda said...

Katya -

Actually the movie came out in June of this year in Belgium. I've already requested it on Netflix but they don't have it yet.

Here's the IMDb link:

Look at the trailers - it looks beautiful:


3:33 PM  

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