by Marjane Satrapi
PERSEPOLIS is the story of a young girl living in Iran at the time of the revolution. What sets this book apart is that it is told in words and pictures – a comic strip. Though there is not much to be comic about.
It is an autobiographical account of Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran and then in Europe. Her words and pictures combine to tell a story of a country in disarray, ruled by fear, where you could be taken at the age of 13 to face a “committee” of the guardians of the revolution and called a whore for showing a fraction of hair (the symbol of decadence in women).
It’s a brave story of a family and a country that shows people who, even though they have lost friends and family through torture and murder in an oppressive religious regime, still tries to live a normal existence. (At great risk they smuggle Kim Wilde and Motorhead posters and tapes into the country for their rock music loving daughter). Eventually it becomes too much for the Satrapi parents and they send Marjane to live in Europe.
Like all good cartoons it’s the events and asides in the background that say as much as the story itself and Satrapi uses this brilliantly. It is an extremely sad story but told with humour and obvious affection for a country in turmoil.
Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She grew up in Tehran, where she studied at the Lycee Francais before leaving for Vienna and then going to Strasbourg to study illustration. She currently lives in Paris.
Read more about Marjane, in her own words, on the Random House website.