Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi

What a gem of a book.
'Guns and knives may break our calves, but we won't wear your silly scarves!'

Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is a insider story of:
  • the Iranian revolution,
  • the Gulf (Iran-Iraq) War (about which we in the West were so cruelly complacent),
  • how fugitives to the West are mostly welcomed by the alternative cultures, not the mainstream ones
  • Teenagerhood
  • Freedom and its contradictions
and with a walk on part by
  • God.
It's all told in cartoon form. It's the best thing I've ever read on Iran and one of the best books I've read about living under an Islamist regime.

I found it the sort of book you have to put down while you walk around and try to think about it. Things like:

  • Why don't we understand Iranians as victims of totalitarianism, quite as much as people in Mao's China or Stalin's Russia? Surely they are.
  • How much teenagers need surrogate parents and grandparents;
  • How people can end up on the streets; and get off them again.


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