After Satrapi leaves Iran at the end of Persepolis 1, she begins a new life in Vienna as an immigrant alone in a foreign land. This is a more familiar story, at least to me, than that of growing up during and after a revolution. But not only is it just as witty and well-observed and poignant as the first book, this one too is full of the sort of surprising turns that a real life takes, even without a revolution. (Some of them, amusingly, are of the life-imitates art variety, so much so that at one point Satrapi thinks, "This is just like a movie!")

I don’t want to give away too much of the story. But I have to mention the moment when punk teenage Satrapi is huddled nervously on a couch at a party when she hears sex moans from another room: “Ah! Ah! Ah!” Freaking out, she grabs a book to distract herself, but she can read nothing on its pages but “Ah! Ah! Ah!”

Satrapi’s very solid relationship with her family is even more central to this book, where they are largely separated, than in the last one where they lived together. Despite her encounters with racism, loneliness, political oppression, and, eventually, a complete emotional breakdown, that gives this coming of age story a reassuring overlay: with a family like that, she’s sure to find herself eventually.

Recommended.

See it on Amazon: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Both parts together: The Complete Persepolis
After Satrapi leaves Iran at the end of Persepolis 1, she begins a new life in Vienna as an immigrant alone in a foreign land. This is a more familiar story, at least to me, than that of growing up during and after a revolution. But not only is it just as witty and well-observed and poignant as the first book, this one too is full of the sort of surprising turns that a real life takes, even without a revolution. (Some of them, amusingly, are of the life-imitates art variety, so much so that at one point Satrapi thinks, "This is just like a movie!")

I don’t want to give away too much of the story. But I have to mention the moment when punk teenage Satrapi is huddled nervously on a couch at a party when she hears sex moans from another room: “Ah! Ah! Ah!” Freaking out, she grabs a book to distract herself, but she can read nothing on its pages but “Ah! Ah! Ah!”

Satrapi’s very solid relationship with her family is even more central to this book, where they are largely separated, than in the last one where they lived together. Despite her encounters with racism, loneliness, political oppression, and, eventually, a complete emotional breakdown, that gives this coming of age story a reassuring overlay: with a family like that, she’s sure to find herself eventually.

Recommended.

See it on Amazon: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Both parts together: The Complete Persepolis
A memoir in graphic novel form about growing up in Iran during the revolution.

I avoided reading this for a long time because I had the impression that it was one of those worthy, educational, depressing books which are read more for their medicinal benefit than for enjoyment. (Perhaps because reviews often began "This is a very important book.") Those are certainly valuable and necessary, but not often to my personal taste.

I had somehow missed any mention of the fact that Persepolis is extremely funny as well as dark, and not earnestly improving at all. It’s actually in a completely different tradition, that of the memoir of two brutal experiences – war and the less-than-happy childhood – which often inspire black comedy. The other thing I didn’t expect was an odd bit of personal resonance: both Satrapi and I come from Communist families. I only wish that, like her, I had been given comic books on dialectical materialism.

The deceptively simple art meshes with the deceptively simple writing to create a perfect recreation of her child’s eye view, to which she and we bring our own adult perspective. Very funny, very dark, precisely observed, poignant, and witty. I couldn’t stop reading this, and I highly recommend it.
A memoir in graphic novel form about growing up in Iran during the revolution.

I avoided reading this for a long time because I had the impression that it was one of those worthy, educational, depressing books which are read more for their medicinal benefit than for enjoyment. (Perhaps because reviews often began "This is a very important book.") Those are certainly valuable and necessary, but not often to my personal taste.

I had somehow missed any mention of the fact that Persepolis is extremely funny as well as dark, and not earnestly improving at all. It’s actually in a completely different tradition, that of the memoir of two brutal experiences – war and the less-than-happy childhood – which often inspire black comedy. The other thing I didn’t expect was an odd bit of personal resonance: both Satrapi and I come from Communist families. I only wish that, like her, I had been given comic books on dialectical materialism.

The deceptively simple art meshes with the deceptively simple writing to create a perfect recreation of her child’s eye view, to which she and we bring our own adult perspective. Very funny, very dark, precisely observed, poignant, and witty. I couldn’t stop reading this, and I highly recommend it.
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