Thursday, February 19, 2009

Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi

It's been forever since I've blogged here, although I swear I am keeping up with my reading. Finished a most interesting graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi called Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. At first I found it a little flat for my taste, but after watching the film of the same title, chatting about it over coffee with my bookie friends, and rereading it, I've warmed up a little. It's a black and white graphic memoir set amidst the turbulence of Iran's overthrow of the Shah and the subsequent rise of the Islamic right and it's everyday implications. The point of view is innocent, that of a young girl, and yet layers of meaning lie behind the simple text. The daughter of Marxists parents and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane's childhood is unique and fastinating. I still find the illustrations flat, but now think that Satrapi's intention may have been to reflect the move from a rich free existence to a more two dimensional one once the Islamic Religion limited the choices of it's citizens to bring them in line with the extreme religious right that had come into power. Many of those restrictions, particular those aimed at women, squashed the most basic freedoms that we take for granted. Reading Satrapi's novel and watching the film would be a great into into a discussion on how art reflects life.

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