The Story of a Childhood
by Marjane Satrapi
PERSEPOLIS: The Story of a Childhood (Pantheon Books/April 29, 2003/$17.95) brilliantly recounts author Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran in the 1970s and 80s through simple yet powerful drawings and words.
From the opening pages of PERSEPOLIS—where Satrapi describes what it felt like when, as a schoolgirl, she was forced to wear a veil after the Shah was dethroned and an Islamic regime took power—we are introduced to a pint-size heroine of enormous strength and spirit. The unique voice and perspective that only a child could provide, as Satrapi tells her tale from the age of six to fourteen, paints an unforgettable portrait of a country in turmoil.
The daughter of Marxist intellectuals and the great-granddaughter of a former Persian emperor, Satrapi’s childhood is at once outrageous and ordinary—beset by the unthinkable, punctured by the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq, yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family. She describes what it was like to bear witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Her depiction of life in Tehran reinforces the contradictions between private and public life in a country plagued by political upheavals, while her childlike naiveté imparts a poignancy to this account of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned beatings, and heroes of the revolution.
Says Satrapi, “[Iran] has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half my life in Iran, I know this image is far from the truth…. I don’t want those Iranians who lost their lives in prisons defending freedom, who died in the war against Iraq, who suffered under various repressive regimes, or who were forced to leave their families and flee their homeland to be forgotten. One can forgive but one should never forget.”
In the same way that Art Spiegelman’s Maus became a classic work in its genre, PERSEPOLIS is certain to take a similar place in literary history.
About the Author:
Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, on the edge of the Caspian Sea. She grew up in Tehran, where she studied at the lycée français, before leaving for Vienna and, later, Strasbourg to study Decorative Arts. From 1989-1994 she returned to her homeland to attain a Masters Degree in Visual Communication from the School of Fine Arts in Tehran. In 1994, she moved to Paris, where she currently resides.
April 29, 2003/$17.95