Tuesday, 4 November 2003

More recommended reading

Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel, telling the story of a rebellious teenage girl growing up during the 1979 Iranian revolution and subsequent Iran-Iraq war. Marjane Satrapi is the great-granddaughter of Ahmad Mirza, the last Persian emperor of the Qajar dynasty, who was overthrown by Reza Shah in 1925. Her parents, however, along with her uncles, were Marxist revolutionaries, who got more than they bargained for after the Shah was overthrown.

The stark black and white art is reminiscent of Maus, and, like Maus, the story alternates between comedy, such as the fourteen-year Marjane telling a “Guardian of the Revolution” that the picture on her Michael Jackson button is Malcolm X, and tragedy, such as a sequence on the propaganda told to the boys destined to die in the bloody war with Iraq.

If you’re my age, you probably don’t remember much about the Iranian revolution apart from the American hostages, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s face on the cover of Time magazine. Read Persepolis for an insider’s perspective on the making of an Islamic theocracy.