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Zahraʼs Paradise (2011)

by Amir, Khalil

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2211593,350 (4.04)10
"Set in the aftermath of Iran's fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahra's Paradise is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has vanished into an extrajudicial twilight zone. What's 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"--Publisher's web site.… (more)
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English (14)  Catalan (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
17 ( )
  MRMP | Jan 9, 2021 |
17 ( )
  MRMP | Jan 9, 2021 |
“Zahra’s Paradise” is a comic drawn by Khalil, an anonymous Arab artist, and written by Amir, an anonymous Persian writer. The story is set just after the 2009-2010 Green Revolution in Iran. It was published on the internet starting in 2010 as a web comic translated in many languages, including Arabic and Farsi. In 2011, it was published in a hardcover format in English.

“Zahra’s Paradise” is an optic delight. There are long-running artistic themes from panel to panel as well as spreads that add to the artistry of the script. The imagery is always amazing. Individual panels often have powerful artistic effects and always have beautiful pictures. This artistic vision holds its own against the best comics. It is easy to dote on the art, which is rich, expressive, and organic.

The writing and story also stand out. “Zahra’s Paradise” takes place in the days after the 2009-2010 Green Revolution, a protest movement that was violently squashed. Mehdi is a fictional protestor who goes missing. His college-age brother and mother try to find out what happened to Mehdi. As the story progresses, the reader meets a hodgepodge of realistic characters, including the mother’s chain-smoking best friend, a copy shop owner who pirates anything the regime doesn’t like, and bureaucrats who are forced to tow the line despite their better judgment. The comic evokes political figures like Ayatollahs, mullahs, and Neda. It could have easily been written as a hard-boiled detective story but the author went out of his way to write a story with tangible characters who act logically.

“Zahra’s Paradise” is a comic reader’s dream. It requires attention to both the story and the art as it describes the Green Revolution. It is rich in artistry and prose, making it a wonderful piece of literature. ( )
  mvblair | Nov 17, 2020 |
Great Art, Great Story

This is as good as it gets. The words and pictures combine very well to keep a complicated story moving.

Artistically, there are long-running artistic themes from panel to panel as well as spreads that add to the artistry of the script. The imagery is always amazing. Individual panels often have powerful artistic effects and always have beautiful pictures. This artistic vision holds its own against the best comics. It is easy to dote on the art, which is rich, expressive, and organic.

The writing and story also stand out. “Zahra’s Paradise” takes place in the days after the 2009-2010 Green Revolution, a protest movement that was violently squashed. Mehdi is a fictional protestor who goes missing. His college-age brother and mother try to find out what happened to Mehdi. As the story progresses, the reader meets a hodgepodge of realistic characters, including the mother’s chain-smoking best friend, a copy shop owner who pirates anything the regime doesn’t like, and bureaucrats who are forced to tow the line despite their better judgment. The comic evokes political figures like Ayatollahs, mullahs, and Neda. It could have easily been written as a hard-boiled detective story but the author went out of his way to write a story with tangible characters who act logically. ( )
  mvblair | Aug 9, 2020 |
Zahra's Paradise takes place in Tehran in 2009. The author and illustrator have chosen to remain anonymous for political reasons and are known only as Amir and Khalil. This is a graphic novel.

The story is about a mother, Zahra, searching for her son, Mehdi, after one of the biggest street protests that took place in Tehran after an election. Mehdi has disappeared. His mother and his brother Hassan, a blogger and the book's narrator, search for him at all of the city's hospitals, prisons and at the morgue. They plead with corrupt politicians for information on an almost daily occasion, showing them all a copy of Mehdi's photograph. Hassan even hacks into one of the regime's most notorious prison's computer system with the hope that he will find him there.

This story primarily shows that a mother's love has no boundaries. However, it also shows how Iranians engaged with each other at that time period, which was not so long ago, just 9 years ago. (from 2018). We westerners have been taught by the media that Iran is solely Muslim yet Zahra's best friend since the 3rd grade is Miriam, a chain smoking, drinking Armenian Christian. The title of this book is also the English translation of the name of the largest cemetery in Iran, located in Tehran. Those interred there include people who both supported and opposed the Iranian Revolution as well as the current regime. Also, the regime buried Jews there that they caught and murdered. This story is showing a more diverse Iran that I am accustomed to hearing about with Jews and Christians living alongside Muslims.

The artwork is composed of black and white drawings with varying degrees of grey shading which I assume reflects the desperation felt by Mehdi's family. The comic is formatted in the traditional comic book page spread.

This story is an important one to tell. It shows what life is like in Iran at this time period. While this is a book of fiction, real life events took place in it is pages. The election of Mahmood Ahmadinejad in 2009 as President of Iran resulted in days of protests. The arrest, torture and murder of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi is part of the story. Also, the hanging of 2 gay men was mentioned. What surprised me was what the Iranians in the book thought about the execution of these 2 men. They wondered why their leaders could not wait for God's judgment on them and why they felt that they had to be the judge and executioner.

I highly recommend this graphic novel. ( )
  Violette62 | Oct 10, 2018 |
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Khalilmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Set in the aftermath of Iran's fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahra's Paradise is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has vanished into an extrajudicial twilight zone. What's 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"--Publisher's web site.

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