The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel, originally published in France in four parts. The entire set has been translated into English and collected here in one complete volume.

Persepolis takes place in the years during and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Marjane’s upper-middle class parents are involved in the communist movement and are at odds with the new Islamic Fundamentalist regime. Brought up with her parents ideals, and chafing under the new repressive laws, Marjane becomes dangerously outspoken and rebellious. Fearing for her safety as she enters adolescence, her parents send her away to Austria for her high school years.

The minimalist black and white artwork contrasts with the sometime intense nature of the subject matter. While this mutes the effect of the more severe scenes, it serves to allow the reader to connect to the story without being overwhelmed by images which depict real-life events. Satrapi’s simple depictions make it easy for the reader to empathize with the characters, while still conveying a wide range of emotion through line and contrast.

More than anything, Persepolis is a classic coming-of-age story, at times schizophrenic, but always moving.

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