Synopses & Reviews
Set in the aftermath of Irans fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahras Paradise
is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has vanished into an extrajudicial twilight zone. Whats keeping his memory from being obliterated is not the law. It is the grit and guts of his mother, who refuses to surrender her son to fate, and the tenacity of his brother, a blogger, who fuses tradition and technology to explore and explode the void in which Mehdi has vanished.
Zahras Paradise weaves together fiction and real people and events. As the world witnessed the aftermath of Irans fraudulent elections, through YouTube videos, on Twitter, and in blogs, this story came into being. The global response to this gripping tale has been passionate—an echo of the global outcry during the political upheaval of the summer of 2009. Zahras Paradise is a first on the internet, a first for graphic novels, and a first in the history of political dissidence. Zahras Paradise is being serialized online. Zahras Paradise is a Publishers Weekly Best Comics title for 2011.
"This collected web comic resembles Persepolis in its loathing for the current Iranian regime, but these creators (anonymous for political reasons) focus their story via an urgent crisis within one family, as young Mehdi's mother and brother search for him after he vanishes during the government's crackdown on protests against fraudulent national elections in 2009. Now no one in authority will admit knowing what happened to him. From the testimony of the angry but fearful people Medhi's friends encounter, from cab drivers to former aristocrats, it's clear that Mehdi is just one of a disaffected majority whose existence the people in power must deny, since they can maintain the official version of righteousness only by rape, torture, and murder. The authors successfully generalize from one case to the dreadful condition of all Iranians. Medhi's mother is named Zahra, and 'Zahra's Paradise' is also a huge cemetery near Tehran; the woman's graveside rant condemns everyone who won't stand up for justice. Khalil's art is a mix of confident caricature, clean cartoony panels, and montage that's remarkably adept at capturing all kinds of action and emotion. The end effect is a powerful look at a people's struggle that goes beyond politicized tropes. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Amir is an Iranian-American human rights activist, journalist and documentary filmmaker. He has lived and worked in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Afghanistan. His essays and articles have appeared far and wide in the press. Khalils work as a fine artist has been much praised. He has been cartooning since he was very young. Zahras Paradise is his first graphic novel. Both Amir and Khalil have chosen to remain anonymous for political reasons.