Persepolis : The Story of a Childhood
by Satrapi, Marjane

The great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life.

Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She grew up in Tehran, where she studied at the Lycée Français before leaving for Vienna and then going to Strasbourg to study illustration. She currently lives in Paris, where she is at work on the sequel to Persepolis and where her illustrations appear regularly in newspapers and magazines. She is also the author of several children’s books.

Satrapi's great-grandfather was Iran's last emperor, the one overthrown by the father of the shah overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution. Doubtless their pedigree of former greatness somewhat shielded her leftist family from the Ayatollah Khomeini's authoritarian regime, and her extraordinary autobiography in comics, which reflects her perspective from ages 10 to 14, probably understates the violence that swirled around her, cresting in the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war. At first, the revolution freed an uncle who idolized her and some of her parents' friends from prison, but soon the tide turned, and the former prisoners had to flee (at least one was killed before he could). Her father and uncle explained modern Iran's past to her, all but dispelling her childish religiosity, and she joined her parents at political demonstrations. When an Iraqi missile destroyed Jewish neighbors, however, her parents determined to use their upper-middle-class means to get out. Satrapi's cursive, geometrical drawing style, reminiscent of the great children's author-artist Wanda Gag's, eloquently conveys her ingenuousness and fervor as a child. ((Reviewed May 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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