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Embroideriesby Marjane Satrapi
Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane's tough-talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men.
As the afternoon progresses, these vibrant women share their secrets, their regrets and their often outrageous stories about, among other things, how to fake one's virginity, how to escape an arranged marriage, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to delight in being a mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most importantly, keep up appearances.
Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers and will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere — and to teach us all a thing or two.
"This slight follow-up to Satrapi's acclaimed Persepolis books explores the lives of Iranian women young and old. The book begins with Satrapi arriving for afternoon tea at her grandmother's house. There, her mother, aunt and their group of friends tell stories about their lives as women, and, more specifically, the men they've lived with and through. One woman tells a story about advising a friend on how to fake her virginity, a scheme that goes comically wrong. Another tells of escaping her life as a teenage bride of an army general. Satrapi's mother tells an anecdote of the author as a child; still others spin yarns of their sometimes glamorous, sometimes difficult, lives in Iran. The tales themselves are entertaining, though the folksiness and common themes of regret and elation feel familiar. Satrapi's artwork does nothing to elevate her source material; her straightforward b&w drawings simply illustrate the stories, rather than elucidating or adding meaning to them. Characters are hard to distinguish from each other, and Satrapi's depictions of gestures and expressions are severely limited, hampering any attempt at emotional resonance. This work, while charming at times, feels like an afterthought compared to Satrapi's more distinguished work on Persepolis and its sequel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Following in the tradition of her critically acclaimed Persepolis I and II, Marjane Satrapi once again captivates readers with her latest graphic novel, Embroideries. In this wildly humorous and irreverent depiction of a multi-generational gathering of Iranian women, Satrapi invites readers into her grandmother's living room, where conversations about love, sex, and men flow as freely as the cups of tea from the samovar. Taking the reader along as her guest, Satrapi welcomes us to this postprandial get-together between her grandmother, mother, aunt, and friends. This is not a harrowing story of repressed chador-clad women that the Western reader typically expects to find in such memoirs. Satrapi presents a more authentic representation of the Iranian woman. With every fresh cup of tea, these women delve deeper into their private lives. Their tales range from accounts of liposuction, breast augmentation, and sexual antics, to revelations about unrequited love, heartbreak, and betrayal. They flavor this anecdotal brew with gossip, as Satrapi's grandmother so poignantly states, 'To speak behind others' backs is the ventilator of the heart.'
Readers will laugh out loud as Satrapi recounts the surprisingly uninhibited language of her elders, revealing that in the private sphere where Iranian women traditionally reign supreme, they are anything but traditional. In this space of intimacy, nothing is unmentionable, from condoning extra-marital affairs to faking one's virginity. The allure of Embroideries lies not only in its irresistible and entertaining graphic narrative, but also in its ground-breaking, unconventional depiction of Iranian women. The characters of Embroideries have the power to change hearts and minds, just as they have changed their own lives—through resilience, grace, and wit." Reviewed by Sarvi Batmanghelidj and Carey Hogg, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"Lighter in subject matter than her previous work, Satrapi keeps things semicomical, even when relating matters of severe heartbreak, and her dashed-off drawings...help matters along." Kirkus Reviews
"Humorous and bawdy, Embroideries is an amusing portrayal of independent women taking life in stride..." Aimee Kelley, Village Voice
When a group of women — Marjane Satrapi's beloved, tough-talking grandmother, her mother, an eccentric aunt, and their friends and neighbors — gather for an afternoon of tea-drinking and talking, the conservation naturally turns to love, sex, and the vagaries of Iranian men. As the day progresses, these vibrant women share secrets, confessions of sadness and regret, and, above all, outrageous tales about, among other things: how to fake your virginity, how to escape the husband your family has chosen for you, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery, and how to take advantage of being someone's mistress. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, these stories lift the veil off the real, private lives of Iranian women and — perfectly captured in Satrapi's simple, beguiling drawings — reveal the connections between women everywhere.
By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, this book's stories lift the veil off the real, private lives of Iranian women and--perfectly captured in Satrapi's simple, beguiling drawings--reveal the connections between women everywhere.
About the Author
Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran, and currently lives in Paris. She has written several children's books and her commentary and comics appear in newspapers and magazines around the world, including the New York Times and the New Yorker. She is also the author of the internationally best-selling and award-winning comic book autobiography in two parts, Persepolis and Persepolis 2.
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