Tuesday, February 3, 2009


by Marjane Satrapi

I fully recognize that I might need a late pass for this book - I'd been aware of it on some level, but had somehow equated it with Emily the Strange in my mind, which now that I've read it, is a very bizarre thing....

This is a great comic memoir of Marjane Satrapi's childhood in Revolutionary Iran. She begins to recount her life story around the time the Revolution began, and continues it through the Iran/Iraq war, when her parents finally sent her away to be safe.

The story is told very much through the young author's point of view - there are no lengthy explanations of Iranian politics, and instead, we as readers get to piece together our understanding of what's going on much as a child would, assuming that child had been raised reading Marxist comic books.

The young Marjane is a very strong-willed, intelligent, and observant child. She notices (and clearly remembers) all sorts of details about the human condition, especially under the stressful situations of revolution and war. She is quick to expose hypocrisy, but is also comfortable depicting her own childish excesses.

The art in the book is full of thick dark lines, and large chunks of black ink - some of the pages would work as wood-cut images. She is able to get her story across in the most minimal of fashions, and still convey the heavy atmosphere of the time and place. This graphic novel really helps understand the Iran of the 80s, and makes it easier to extrapolate an understanding of the Iranian character today.

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