Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

A graphic book in standard paperback format at 343 pages.
The book is autobiographical, told by an Iranian woman who has lived under repression and also a more relaxed regime.
With an episode in Austria this, you would think, adds up to a balanced view of life's possibilities. Or is it simply confusing?
With a whole lot of rules to be learned, unlearned and relearned the book illustrates the difficulty of getting children to conform with them, especially when the household doesn't necessarily abide by the rules indoors. Games involving who's going to be tortured and who's going to be the torturer are part of the playground growing up. Sometimes in a mixed playground, more often not.
The format of the book means that some of the violence slips into the cartoon with an extra powerful kick, maybe more effective than words.
We learn of Marjane's life as she moves to Austria without her parents, her embracing of western culture-possibly more embracing than a lot of us in the west- but then we've never been denied the choices.
From a culture of near complete freedom must be a massive shock. How is it that when a person has always been encouraged to succeed, yet politics have denied possibility, how does a person know that 'no' is actually an option?
Alongside the personal story is the political one, and the west doesn't get off scot-free. It gets blamed and it gets laughed at, but at the end of the day BBC World Service is the news reporter of choice in Iran for this family.
Well worth reading-take a chance on graphic.
I'll be interested to see how the film is made-cartoon or not?

Publisher - Vintage

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