18 December 2005


I've been catching up on a number of great new graphic novels lately, including Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. It's the story of the artists' life from the age of 6 until about 10, when she lived through the overthrow of the Shah in Iran. The author comes from an educated family that had connections to the pre-Pahlavi regime, and it turns out the suffering in her family started well before the events in the book.

Sufficiently dramatic events -- and the revolution is clearly such -- help pull the reader through any book, but what makes Persepolis so compelling is the consistently child-centric point of view. The parent's reactions to the events are quite divorced from the reactions of the six-year-old Marji's; and, the multiple moments where events force the family to educate this child in a hurry as why tragedies are befalling them dazzle you with the impact they must have had.

Two other things I took away from the book where the Iranian people's perception of Arabs as "invaders from the West" (not something that gets a lot of play here) and the phrase, "...which they subsequently called an Islamic revolution" as Marji's intelligentsia-connected family watches the expected Marxist-proleteriat form of the revolution morph into something much more sinister.

Highly recommended.

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