Saturday, August 26, 2006

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return - Marjane Satrapi [August/06]

This is the sequel to Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, which I just recently read.

From the flap:

In PERSEPOLIS, heralded by the LOS ANGELES TIMES as "one of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day," Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending memoir-in-comic-strips about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revloution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story.

In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to attend high school in Vienna, where she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family. While she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to miss her home desperately. After graduation, Marjane returns to Iran. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence, and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Life begins to look brighter once Marjane finds a group of like minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university - until the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.

As funny and poignant as its predecessor, PERSEPOLIS 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnationof the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up - here compounded by Marjane's status as an outsider both abroad and at home - it's raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

This is of course the follow up to Persepolis. In the first book we leave off at the airport as Marjane is going to live in Vienna with the hopes of having a better life than the one available in constrained Iran. She has a lot of trouble with her move, though. She doesn't feel like herself, because she feels like she is abandoning her people. While away she turns her back on her culture for quite some time before she begins to appreaciate herself again.

She attempts a return to Iran after a while because her rebellious streak in the outside world is getting to her, and she is suffering because she cannot seem to find her place. She thinks going back to where she began and being with her parents will help her. She does start to come to life when she gets there, but it takes some time. She makes some decisions, though, that she ends up regretting. She even gets married. In the end, though, Iran is not a healthy place for someone who has dreams, and so she sets off into the outside once again. This time, though, she is stronger and has a better idea what she wants to do with her life.

Equally as good and creative as the first one.


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