With all the discussion of Iran going on in the media, few sources allow a reader such an insightful and thought-provoking portrait as Marjane Satrapi’s wonderful Persepolis. The Islamic revolution of 1979, when Satrapi was a young girl, is the beginning backdrop of her autobiographical tale, and it sets the stage for the years to come in the author’s life. As she deals with issues of freedom, religion, growing up, and identity—while her homeland deals with similar travails—Satrapi paints a thoroughly engaging portrait. She describes her work in her graphic novels (this collection contains both Persepolis and Persepolis II) this way: “. . . this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. . . . I know that this image is far from the truth.” The stark black-and-white illustrations, so definite yet so emotive at the same time, powerfully bear this out.
Reviewed by John Hogan on October 30, 2007
The Complete Persepolis