Monday, January 14, 2008

Behind the veil

I recently finished reading Persépolis, the wonderful graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi.

In the four tomes of Persépolis (now available in a consolidated format), Ms. Satrapi recalls her childhood in Iran during the fall of the Shah and the instauration of the Islamic Republic, her subsequent exile and coming of age in Vienna as a teenager, and her eventual return to Iran as a liberated and freedom-loving young woman.

Ms. Satrapi's story is simply and sincerely told and drawn in a sober, black and white fashion. As the story progresses, the author's tone evolves from that of a 10 year-old girl to that of a rebellious and educated young woman, and alternates between tenderness, despair and brutality.

Just as Maus, the acclaimed graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, was not just about the Holocaust but also dwelled on the themes of the family and memory (as in mémoire), Persépolis is not just about Iran's oppressive regime.

It is also a critique of middle-eastern politics in recent history, an assault on organized religion, the tale of a young woman who learns how to find her true self, and a story about love - of men, of one's family and friends and of one's country and culture.

Now I can't wait to see the film!

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