‘The Complete Persepolis’ review
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Persepolis is an autobiographical account of author Marjane Satrapi’s coming of age during a time of political revolution in Iran. The story follows her throughout her childhood and into her adult life. Persepolis is deeply concerned with issues of political freedom, feminism, racism, and a multitude of other barriers to social growth. It is also one of the few graphic novels repeatedly looked at from an academic level. To sum it all up, Persepolis is not just a good graphic novel, it’s good literature.
Since I chose to review The Complete Persepolis, an omnibus of all four volumes, the plot does jump around quite a bit. It begins with Satrapi’s childhood in Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolution before moving on to her teenage years in Vienna, Austria. Her eventual return to her homeland, although moving because it marks a reunion with her family, does not come without its own issues—all of which Satrapi narrates in a very organic and honest way.
Normally I’m not a huge fan of biographies, as I find them a little too self-serving. But Persepolis is this hugely intricate, amazing story of growing up beyond the confines of tradition, and finding a way to relate and deal with issues of identity.
Art-wise, the illustrations, also done by Satrapi, are very simplistic. They use colour blocking so the images appear very stark, but also incorporate enough detail to make certain elements recognizable or to affect the mood of the narrative. It is a very unique art-style, but it is also very clean and easily readable, so you’re never confused as to what is happening. I quite enjoyed it in this narrative, but I think we’d be hard-pressed to find another where it worked so well.
No matter what I say, I know I could never do this amazing book justice. It’s a very definite recommendation to everyone.