Author: Marjane Satrapi
Genre: YA graphic memoir
Date of publication: 2000 (first published)
Persepolis is a graphic novel written by Marjane Satrapi, which is about her story of growing up in her birthplace of Iran and discovering herself and the world around her, in Austria (in book II). The story is split into two novels: part I (first published in 2000) and part II (first published in 2002). Part I takes place in Iran prior and during the Iranian Revolution. Book II takes place in Austria, when Marjane Satrapi is sent to study at the age of 14 in 1984, and then back to Iran at the age of 18.
The book is a first-hand source of a coming-of-age story. It is witty, sad and an interesting representation of inner-Iran and the daily lives of Iranians during the 70s and the 80s. What the novel presents us with, is a candid and inner-speculation of life as an Iranian-born during the uprising of political upheaval and uncertainty. Marjane Satrapi’s novel is a splendid story about a girl as well as her country’s corresponding growth and endless discovery. It really makes you question the media-based representation of Iranians during the revolution and the Marjane Satrapi’s version of Iranians during the revolution.
Personal Response (Spoiler-free):
I read Persepolis I: The Story of a Childhood last year (2014) and re-read it last month. I have now, completed reading Persepolis: The Complete Story (Persepolis I + Persepolis II: The Story of a Return). I am happy to say that it is one of the best graphic novels I’ve read so far (one). I enjoyed reading every bit of it because it was such a great depiction of a growing-up tale and as I read it, I could actually grow up with the character (the author, since this is a memoir). You become so attached to the character and get excited to learn new things about the society, culture, emotions and feelings that the story gives you. I wouldn’t have thought of reading an Iranian-born French cartoonist’s graphic novel if it weren’t for my sister who gifted me the first part and my school for encouraging me to read it further. I will cherish this especially because of the cultural depiction and the inner traits and thoughts of adolescents from a country that I am not very much familiar with. I recommend this book to anyone, really. But maybe except for those who don’t prefer comic-strips and laughing-out-loud. The Persepolis movie, in French (with English subtitles), was released in 2007.