Monday, 17 December 2012

Graphic Novel Reads: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


Persepolis is a memoir drawn and lettered in the graphic novel format by Marjane Satrapi. The memoir was first published in year 2000 in French, and has since been translated into several languages including English.

Satrapi uses decorous, simplistic black & white illustrations, humour, lyricism and witticisms to conjure up a memorable childhood. After all, Satrapi grew up in Iran, where the 1979 Islamic revolution imposed the veil and other stringent rules. The regime protesting parents, a grandmother, revolutionaries and god play an important part in Satrapi's imaginative, dreamy adolescent years.

Then comes the war with Iraq and even as things become grave, grim and threatening, a 14 year-old Satrapi is send to a French school in Austria by her concerned parents. Thus begins Satrapi's journey to adulthood, even as she hilariously describes her physical transformation. At first, Satrapi pretends to be French, but a overheard taunt makes her declare fiercely that she is an Iranian and proud of it. Then follows love, disillusion and a brush with death...Satrapi recreates her life, family, friends, lovers and enemies with mercurial craft. This is a book I love returning to.

Soft, hard?  
Now there are two published versions of the book. One is a paperback edition that comprises of the entire book. The second version is in hardback and available in two volumes: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis: The Story of a Return. We would recommend the latter version for its durability.

While the 2007 animated movie version does not cover the entire book text, it is certainly watchable, co-directed by Satrapi herself. The movie review can be read here.    

(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

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