Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (3/5)

First published: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Original title:

Original language: French
Translation to Swedish by: Gabriella Theiler
Page count:
77, 86, 96, 100

GoodReads says: Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
I say: I read the Swedish translation in four parts – all in one go – and even though it’s been a couple of weeks since I finished them, Satrapi’s life is still at the back of my mind.

The things she’s been through...
It’s hard to sum up how I feel about the series because there is so much that happens and elicits different reactions and emotions. I had little knowledge of Iran’s history prior to reading this, and I loved that it started off with a couple of pages explaining who the previous rulers were and what happened when they discovered oil – it made for a smooth transition into Sartapi’s childhood with two politically engaged parents who persistently protested against what they thought was wrong. There was a lot of political talk, as is expected, and I liked the candour of it (biased as it must be), and it did prompt me to look further into Iran’s history.

But it wasn’t only about the political turmoil – thankfully – in fact, I see it more as a coming-of-age story than a political one. The political climate (and later war) was at the centre of Satrapi’s life but at the same time it operated in background. What was most poignant for me was her thoughts and life in Vienna; her personal growth and happiness at being in a free country and the guilt of not being at home and dealing with the problems.
There’s a lot of humour in here as well, which made for a more bearable reading, and it is a very straightforward and honest autobiography.


  1. I really really want to read this because I totally don't read enough graphic novels, and this gets mentioned in the same breath as Maus which is the best best best (in a HORRIBLE way, obvs) and yeah. I had a peek at it in a bookshop the other day, and sooner or later it will be MINE!

    1. I liked Maus, but didn't love it - I would have if I had read it when I was younger.

      And the Swedish version I read said that this was the first Iranian graphic novel, not sure if that means the first graphic novel from/about Iran or by an Iranian. I should reasearch, but...

  2. I've recently seen an animated movie of the same name based on this graphic novel and it was just amazing! Now, I don't know how close it is to the books, but now I really want to read them if I can get hold of them.

    1. I found out that it had been made into a film after I read it and have been meaning to watch it as well - hoping I won't be disappointed. They have it at the library so I'll pick it up and watch over the weekend.