Sunday, July 09, 2006

67. "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood" ~ Marjane Satrapi

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not fond of the new trend in graphic novels. I find myself looking for "KAPOW!" and the glorious advertisements for x-ray glasses and sea monkeys.

However, Persepolis may have changed my impression. Written about the author, Marjane Satrapi's childhood from ages six to fourteen, this is a heartfelt memoir of the Islamic Revolution and Iran's war with Iraq. For the underinformed Westerner, the childlike illustrations simplify the horrors of the atrocities, like neighbors turning against neighbors or the ways young Iranian boys are taught to desire the "key to heaven": a gold-painted plastic key that promises wealth, happiness, and, of course, women, in the afterlife.

Satrapi is that outspoken finger-pointer in the back of the class, the one who announces that the emperor wears no clothes. Her drawings are dark, sensual in loops around God's face, terrifying in waves of dying fire victims. She manages to add humor to situations that are abominable, even stunning. Yet, her language never seems forced, even through several translations.

Sometimes a picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.

4.0 out of 5.0 Graveyard Spirits.

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