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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

by

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return Cover

 

 

Author's Note

Why I Wrote Persepolis

From the time I came to France in 1994, I was always telling stories about life in Iran to my friends. We'd see pieces about Iran on television, but they didn't represent my experience at all. I had to keep saying, "No, it's not like that there." I've been justifying why it isn't negative to be Iranian for almost twenty years. How strange when it isn't something I did or chose to be?

After I finished university, there were nine of us, all artists and friends, working in a studio together. That group finally said, "Do something with your stories." They introduced me to graphic novelists. Spiegelman was first. And when I read him, I thought "Jesus Christ, it's possible to tell a story and make a point this way." It was amazing.

 

Writing a Graphic Novel is Like Making a Movie

People always ask me, "Why didn't you write a book?" But that's what Persepolis is. To me, a book is pages related to something that has a cover. Graphic novels are not traditional literature, but that does not mean they are second-rate. Images are a way of writing. When you have the talent to be able to write and to draw it seems a shame to choose one. I think it's better to do both.

We learn about the world through images all the time. In the cinema we do it, but to make a film you need sponsors and money and 10,000 people to work with you. With a graphic novel, all you need is yourself and your editor.

Of course, you have to have a very visual vision of the world. You have to perceive life with images otherwise it doesn't work. Some artists are more into sound; they make music. The point is that you have to know what you want to say, and find the best way of saying it. It's hard to say how Persepolis evolved once I started writing. I had to learn how to write it as a graphic novel by doing.

 

What I Wanted to Say

I'm a pacifist. I believe there are ways to solve the world's problems. Instead of putting all this money to create arms, I think countries should invest in scholarships for kids to study abroad. Perhaps they could become good and knowledgeable professors in their own countries. You need time for that kind of change, though.

I have been brought up open-minded. If I didn't know any people from other countries, I'd think everyone was evil based on news stories. But I know a lot of people, and know that there is no such thing as stark good and evil. Isn't it possible there is the same amount of evil everywhere?

If people are given the chance to experience life in more than one country, they will hate a little less. It's not a miracle potion, but little by little you can solve problems in the basement of a country, not on the surface. That is why I wanted people in other countries to read Persepolis, to see that I grew up just like other children.

It's so rewarding to see people at my book signings who never read graphic novels. They say that when they read mine they became more interested. If it opens these people's eyes not to believe what they hear, I feel successful.

 

You Have to Think Freely to Know What to Write

My parents were very proud when they read Persepolis. If I criticize them once in a while, it's because it's the truth, and they laugh. My father always says, "It is only an idiot who never changes his mind." My parents accept that times change, and they are not right anymore. They've taught me that you can make mistakes.

They were extremely open-minded about what I said and they were demanding. I'm also tender with them because they were magnificent parents. They gave me the most important thing — the freedom of thinking and deciding for myself. The best present anyone can receive is not being formatted because the world or a religion wants you to be.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375714665
Author:
Satrapi, Marjane
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Ethnic Cultures - General
Subject:
Graphic Novels - General
Subject:
Satrapi, Marjane
Subject:
Women -- Iran.
Subject:
Biography-Ethnic Cultures
Subject:
Biography-Women
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW DRAWINGS THROUGHOUT
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.76x6.10x.62 in. .71 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Women
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Nonfiction
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return Used Trade Paper
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Product details 192 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375714665 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I must admit I read this, the second installment of Satrapi's illustrated autobiography, before reading the first. Without the full premise of how she left her native country of Iran for Europe, it was easy to think that I had found a interesting connection with the memoirs of an Iranian girl that any loner American teenager could relate to, complete with all the punk rock music, attitude, and drugs that confirm an alienated adolescence. However, Satrapi's story is much more intense and unlike any other because there is real grief, repression, murder, and ghosts in this book. Satrapi's story is haunting. It would eat at you if it wasn't for the simple and humorous line drawings which humanize and mitigate her journeys. This is the same successful technique of illustrated storytelling that Art Spiegelman and Joe Sacco have perfected, reminding us in a palatable and artful way the disturbing realities of our times. And Satrapi has got a bold and sassy mouth like no one else.

"Review" by , "Satrapi's story is compelling and extremely complex....It would have made a stirring document no matter how it was told, but the graphic form...endows it with a combination of dynamism and intimacy....And it is wildly charming."
"Review" by , "Satrapi's high-contrast, bold-lined, stencil-ish artwork remains very much at the service of one of the most compelling youth memoirs of recent years."
"Review" by , "The art, though less mature in Persepolis, was more visceral. However, Persepolis 2 has a better story. Satrapi has real comic timing, which she makes good use of in the teenage narrative."
"Review" by , "What is astonishing about Satrapi's work is that with evocative drawings and minimal use of words, it creates immensely sympathetic and real characters."
"Review" by , "Persepolis 2 never feels anything less than effortless. The art is still the best kind of simple...and it dances nicely with narration and dialogue that balance the absurd horrors of the fundamentalist regime with humorous moments that make it just bearable."
"Review" by , "You've never seen anything like Persepolis — the intimacy of a memoir, the irresistibility of a comic book, and the political depth of a the conflict between fundamentalism and democracy. Marjane Satrapi may have given us a new genre."
"Synopsis" by , In Persepolis 2, Marjane Satrapi continues her tale with the same dazzling combination of singular artistry, insight, and storytelling elan. Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant — both about the life of one adolescent and about the life of an entire nation — Persepolis 2 is a clear confirmation of Satrapi's stunning talents.
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapis memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shahs regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Irans last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjanes childs-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Here is the continuation of Marjane Satrapi's fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging.

Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.

As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up—here compounded by Marjanes status as an outsider both abroad and at home—it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

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