Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

I ran, I ran so far away . . .
–A Flock of Seagulls

This graphic novel is in two parts, though this edition makes you guess at where the break is–apparently, it’s at the point where the author is sent to a French school in Vienna as a teenager. The book is good for the local view of Iran’s troubles in the Seventies and Eighties.

Marjane is the only child of educated Iranians who obey the Revolution in public but maintain a liberal milieu in their home. She has relatives who go to prison and are tortured and/or executed. The second half is not as interesting, as it focuses mainly on the adventures of a teenager in a foreign city as a student, with the familiar problems of language/cultural barriers, sex, and drugs. The comic-book format allows little depth, but it’s worth reading to be reminded that not all Iranians are supporters of Islamic revolution, though she recalls her sophisticated family’s surge of patriotism when the national anthem is played on the radio at the start of the Iran-Iraq War.

Memorial Plaque to King Jan III Sobieski in Vienna

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