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The Complete Persepolis (2000)

by Marjane Satrapi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Persepolis (Omnibus 1-4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,0052331,368 (4.27)370
Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi's childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.… (more)
  1. 90
    Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman (Wraith_Ravenscroft)
  2. 40
    Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi (JessamyJane)
  3. 20
    Marzi by Marzena Sowa (meggyweg)
  4. 20
    A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return by Zeina Abirached (Felipe-F)
  5. 20
    Stitches: A Memoir by David Small (teelgee)
  6. 10
    Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Iran of the late 20th century was a country of contradictions. Private and public lives, religious and secular lives, and men's and women's lives existed in direct opposition. Read thought-provoking, true-life stories about this in Persepolis and Lipstick Jihad.… (more)
  7. 10
    The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir by Riad Sattouf (hilge)
  8. 10
    The Shadows of Ghadames by Joelle Stolz (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Shadows is for a younger audience, but it deals with some of the same themes and cultural ideas as the more adult Persepolis.
  9. 21
    Blankets by Craig Thompson (Hibou8)
    Hibou8: Two very good graphic novels that deal with coming of age.
  10. 10
    Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuściński (wookiebender)
    wookiebender: A non-fiction book about the lead-up to the Iranian revolution (plus a bit post-revolution), I found this an interesting companion piece.
  11. 10
    American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (sduff222)
  12. 00
    Houri by Mehrdad Balali (alexmuninn)
  13. 00
    Boxers & Saints Boxed Set by Gene Luen Yang (CGlanovsky)
  14. 00
    Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: A Graphic Novel by Anya Ulinich (charl08)
  15. 00
    Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle (Lucky-Loki)
  16. 00
    Persia Blues, vol. 1: Leaving Home by Dara Naraghi (CassandraStrand)
    CassandraStrand: Both books deal with girls growing up under the restrictions of post-revolutionary Iran and their "escape" to the West.
  17. 00
    Kabul Disco, Book 1: How I Managed Not to be Abducted in Afghanistan by Nicolas Wild (zasmine)
  18. 01
    Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan (Maiasaura)
  19. 01
    Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima, Volume 1 by Keiji Nakazawa (LKAYC)
  20. 01
    Unterzakhn by Leela Corman (greydoll)
    greydoll: Graphic novel about lives of Jewish immigrant women in New York in early 20th century

(see all 20 recommendations)

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» See also 370 mentions

English (218)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (231)
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
Written in a frank and captivating tone by Marjane Satrapi, this graphic novel brilliantly illustrates the way in which repressive regimes distort the daily lives of citizens. With the emotional charge concentrated on the plot, Persepolis is, above all, an autobiography. But it is by no means so in the traditional way.

Narrated with monochromatic illustrations, it stands out eloquently, despite its simplicity, and proves to be intelligent, fun and moving. Marjane Satrapi unveils not only her memories as a woman growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, but she also conveys, in a profoundly human way, a universal message of freedom and tolerance.

Satrapi, the first Iranian woman to write comics, addresses the great changes her country has faced through a personal narrative, consisting of 39 chapters, which allows us to follow her from childhood to adulthood. We are exposed to customs and family and social relationships as part of the history of Iran, from 1978 to the 1990s.

In 1979, the Iranian Revolution took place, which ousted the Shah, the representative of the monarchy, and established the Islamic Republic. Marjane Satrapi was just 10 years old when Western customs, previously practised, were banned. It's within a modern and avant-garde family that she will have to find a balance between the religion she was born with and the education she grew up with.

As a child, Marjane Satrapi, who had gone to a French laic school where boys and girls learned together, is faced with the mandatory use of the veil and the separation of genders. In street demonstrations for and against the veil, her mother screamed for the pro-freedom faction.

Marjane knew a lot about the revolution, especially since her parents insisted that she read about it. Her favourite work was, however, a comic strip, called Dialectical Materialism, in which Marx and Descartes appeared. One day, she said: “For the revolution to succeed, it has to have the support of the entire population.” But it was too dangerous.

During her childhood, Marjane experiences the revolution against Islamic morals through family stories. From her father, who reveals to her that the deposed emperor was the father of her grandfather. From her mother, who confesses the fear she felt as a child every time she heard a knock at the door. From her grandmother, who lived in poverty and pretended to cook so the neighbours wouldn't notice. From political prisoners, friends of her parents. From her uncle Anoosh, who was in prison for nine years. From whoever was willing to tell her a new story.

But, from an early age, Marjane also embraces Western culture. Despite her love for the Persian tradition, she still wanted to wear Nike sneakers, shave her legs and listen to Kim Wilde and Iron Maiden. Because she questioned the rules and knew how to scream louder than her attacker, her parents ended up sending her to Austria so she could live in safety.

It was in Vienna that the author lived her adolescence. After meeting Julie, Momo, Olivier and Thierry, she discovered anarchism and Bakunin, the history of the commune and Sartre, the favourite author of her companions. At that time, she read a lot to understand everything, but never forgot that we have to understand ourselves first.

For some time she was far from her culture, even denying her own nationality. At the time, “Iran was the epitome of evil” and being an Iranian was a difficult burden to carry.

Throughout Persepolis, Marjane defines herself as a rebellious, progressive and emancipated woman in the face of religious fundamentalism. Her work is a singular testimony that, in Ruth Leys' expression, is “inherently political and collective”, also presenting itself, and for that reason, as cultural memory. ( )
1 vote inkspellonyou | Aug 10, 2022 |
This book was everything that I thought, but so much more. A life told in retrospect is always interesting; one can see how the two voices of Satrapi—the narrator and the protagonist—blend-in as time progresses. Narrator Satrapi isn't very concerned with keeping the twists and turns secret from us. She invites us in, assuming we're friends long lost who are already familiar with these stories, but are sitting fireside, witnessing her perspectives on her own life. Chronicling her teenage years in Austria, she's at once understanding of and sympathetic to her family, while not being cruel to herself, nor being dishonest with us. She has portrayed her flawed, scared, outraged, and wonderfully big-mouthed teenage-self without polishing much of her past with her understanding that came with age. It's a book that strengthens you and your resolve—educating oneself is the key. It's a book that comforts you about your deepest, most shameful experiences by being kind to Marji's flawed, broken past. It's a book that criticises religious fundamentalism without being Islamophobic. A book that celebrates mythology and history without slipping into the grip of blind nationalism. It's a tale well told. Although it is neither a complete, nor a holistic record of experiences in the post-revolution Iran, it has to be one of the more balanced tales. ( )
1 vote Toshi_P | May 6, 2022 |
Interesting story, interesting style. I learned plenty and feel enlightened. ( )
  swbesecker | Feb 28, 2022 |
A brilliant combination of histories personal, familial and global, this graphic memoir often simultaneously delivers in each short story the tragic and the heartfelt and the humorous.

It's a family memoir, a bildungsroman, a manifesto on freedom. And as with many extremely well-written books, it is all these and more.

The drawing style is simple - black and white - and gorgeous. The complexity of the ideas and events conveyed - accentuated by this very same simplicity - made me gasp out loud many times and have one overwhelmed weep.

Highly highly recommended. ( )
  kitzyl | Dec 31, 2021 |
Excellent graphic memoir. An emotional and intense look at a history I now want to learn more about. ( )
  mutantpudding | Dec 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Satrapi, Marjaneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferris, BlakeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merrien, CélineLetterersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ripa, MattiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singh, AnjaliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my parents
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This is me when I was 10 years old. This was in 1980.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Persepolis was originally published in 4 volumes. Some later editions, especially in the U.S., combined volumes 1-2 into one work Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood; volumes 3-4 were combined into Persepolis: The Story of a Return. Keep this in mind when combining/separating.
This is the Complete Persepolis (books 1-4 or books I+II).
Some editions such as ISBN 009952399X are only called Persepolis, but contain the Complete Persepolis.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi's childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.

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Checklist category/categories: Translated from any language EXCEPT French or Japanese
Title: The Complete Persepolis
Author or Creator: Marjane Satrapi
Publisher and number of pages/length of time: 341 pages
Year of publication/release: 2007
Your brief response to the title - Memoir about Marjane's experiences growing up in Iran, living temporarily in Austria and returning back home.
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