Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi

I actually read "Persepolis" a while back, but the weighty tome I'm currently reading is preventing me from running through my weekly dose of 2-3 books per week, as per usual.  I will, of course, write about the aforementioned weighty tome once its reading is completed

"Persepolis" was amazing and eye opening.  It was made into an animated movie back in 2007 (Catherine Deneuve did the voice for Marjane's mum, and Chiara Mastroianna did Marjane's voice) and subsequently was nominated for a bazillion movie awards, including the Oscar, which it failed to win.

The graphic novel focuses on the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which occurred during Ms. Satrapi's childhood.  Because Ms. Satrapi was young when the revolution occurred, it is depicted through her 8 year old eyes.  She depicts childish confusion at being forced to wear a headscarf, but not understanding why it was required; being segregated from her male schoolmates after years of co-education; and her desire to become a prophet.

"Persepolis I" is an excellent look at the Islamic Revolution through the eyes of Iranians that are now adults.  "Persepolis II" is a look at Iran in more recent years, after Marjane returned to Iran from several years of parent-imposed exile in Europe.  She points out the innate hypocrisy in the behavior of the moral police, and often manages to make the stories sadly funny.

The Iran-Iraq war - the first one - is also covered, with its attendant bombings and television newscasts.

All in all, "Persepolis" is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read, both from a historical standpoint, and also from a conceptual point of view.  The books are beautifully illustrated with stark graphics that place emphasis on the dialogue and narration, but that also reflect the simplistic ideas Marjane had about the Revolution during her childhood.

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