?

Log in

The · Inklings: · An · LJ · Reading · Group


Belated thoughts on Persepolis

Recent Entries · Archive · Friends · Profile

* * *
I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Persepolis.

I had read general descriptions about the book before starting it, but I wasn't prepared for it to be so much a family story. That is, I expected tales from her childhood, but I didn't expect them to be so closely framed by her interactions with her family and friends. In retrospect, this was sort of silly of me. I thought it was interesting to consider how much Marji was a product of this unusual family--how many children grow up reading comics about dialectic materialism? The family framing of the story put faces to movements, and that really brought the change sweeping through Iran during the period covered home.

It's hard to pick out a few moments that I liked, since I liked so very many. That said, I think the story that will linger longest is that of Marji's uncle, Anoosh. And I thought the bit about Marji's father hiding posters in the lining of his coat was just too sweet.

I find myself lacking the vocabulary to express my feelings about the art. I haven't read too many graphic novels--Gaiman's Sandman series and Craig Thompson's Blankets just about covers it--so I don't have too much of a context for comparisons. I guess what I responded to in Satrapi's drawings was its playfulness. It wasn't trying to be beautiful, nor did it strike me as technically brilliant, but it had its own charm. The lines were simple, but that didn't make the individual characters any less distinct. I liked how purely black and white it was, without any use of shading, and especially the use of plain black backgrounds. (The one plain black frame, following the dead of Marji's Jewish friend, was perfect.)
* * *
* * *
[User Picture]
On May 16th, 2005 04:39 am (UTC), oyceter commented:
I guess what I responded to in Satrapi's drawings was its playfulness. It wasn't trying to be beautiful, nor did it strike me as technically brilliant, but it had its own charm.

I think you've pinpointed what I liked most about the art as well! I also like how well it goes with the voice of the memoir, the wryness, the humor in face of tragedy, the juxtaposition of the personal and the political.
On May 20th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC), rilina replied:
I think the juxtaposition of tragedy and comedy also plays into a long tradition in war novels--the often horrible absurdity of it all. I'm thinking of books like Catch-22 here.
* * *
[User Picture]
On May 16th, 2005 06:47 am (UTC), gwyneira commented:
I liked the simplicity of the art, too. I was expecting to have a hard time reading the book, having had bad luck reading graphic novels in the past because I read so fast that I can't force myself to slow down and take in the art. Here, the clarity of the drawings allowed me to take them in quickly, and they really added to the emotional experience of the book.
On May 20th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC), rilina replied:
I was expecting to have a hard time reading the book, having had bad luck reading graphic novels in the past because I read so fast that I can't force myself to slow down and take in the art.

I've had the same experience of reading too fast and consequently ignoring the art. It's funny how I'm still surprised by how different the reading experience is; by now I know it will be, but I still always need a few pages to get my brain in the proper frame of mind.
* * *
(Deleted comment)
On May 20th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC), rilina replied:
What really struck me in the writing was the juxtaposition of absolutely mordant yet sidesplitting humor with genuinely horrific situations.--I need to hunt down my copy so I can add more specific comments.

Yes, as I commented on oyceter's comment above, that sort of a classic trait of modern war literature--the sometimes horrific absurdity of war and its consequences. (Classic example: all of Catch-22, which only we appreciated in IBH World Lit.) I think particularly of the scenes of very young Marji dressing up as a revolutionary; it's so funny and creepy at the same time.
* * *

Previous Entry · Leave a comment · Share · Next Entry