By Marjane Satrapi
"War always takes you by surprise," writes Iranian born, Paris-based artist Marjane Satrapi in her latest book. This memoir, written in a series of comic strips, recounts Satrapi's childhood in Iran between the ages of 4 and 14. In the book, Satrapi depicts her account of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the subsequent eight-year Iran-Iraq war. Combining simple, yet poignant black-and-white illustrations with wry, witty commentary, Satrapi offers the reader a unique glimpse into a country that, for many, continues to remain a source of both fascination and confusion.
I was born in Tehran at the height of the Iranian Revolution, so it was easy for me to relate to Sarrapi's storylines. The underlining theme throughout Persepolis is that of a girl wanting to live a "normal" life (despite the governmental restrictions imposed on her).
Current events, including the renewed interest in Iran's nuclear weapons program and the ongoing demonstrations in Iran calling for a more democratic regime, add further relevance to such a book. Satrapi's personal history, as the only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, also undoubtedly contributes to the brilliance of the narratives.
Running the gamut from Satrapi's schoolmate crushes and fondness for punk bands like Iron Maiden to more serious storylines such as the torturing and ultimate assassination of her beloved uncle Anoosh, Satrapi conveys each story with charm and honesty. Perhaps most effectively, the book helps explain the ongoing culture clash that emerges in a country whose people are torn between fundamentalism and secular living. Along these lines, Satrapi...