Persepolis 2 : the story of a return

by Marjane Satrapi

Paperback, 2004




New York : Pantheon Books, c2004.


In Persepolis, heralded by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day," Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending memoir-in-comic-strips about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging. Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran. As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up--here compounded by Marjane's status as an outsider both abroad and at home--it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.… (more)

Media reviews

Unlike the first book, it’s disjointed, tawdry, and unfocused. The story of her young adulthood doesn’t demonstrate the insight that made the first book so special.
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May Satrapi continue to blend the personal and the political to such extraordinary effect.
Ultimately, Persepolis 2 provides another valuable window into an alien (yet all too human) way of life, but it's a far more difficult book than Persepolis. A child who lets her harsh environment interfere with her empathy for others is understandable and tragic, but an adult with the same problem borders on distressing solipsism.
Satrapi's voice is very much her own, and the way the clash between European and Middle Eastern culture has played out in her life makes for compelling reading. What her book lacks, though, is perspective on the cultural revolution in which she and her circle lived (and sometimes died).
Still, her rebellious stunts never undermine Satrapi's unconditional love for her troubled homeland—which, in these times of religious fervor and political gain, resonates all the more poignantly.
Satrapi is the chronicler of both her own life, her own struggles to find a place for herself in a society that seems to be closing down on all sides, as well as the life of a people who were finally coming up for air after Saddam Hussein's missiles stopped falling
Satrapi's story is compelling and extremely complex, not simply in its windings and reversals of fortune but in its manifold ironies and acknowledged contradictions. It would have made a stirring document no matter how it was told, but the graphic form, with its cinematic motion and its style as personal as handwriting, endows it with a combination of dynamism and intimacy uniquely suited to a narrative at once intensely subjective and world-historical.

User reviews

LibraryThing member maggie1944
Book 46 (I think). Finished reading the Graphic Novel [ Persepolis 2] by Marjane Satrapi. As a teenager Marjane left Iran to live and study in Europe. While there she wrote her first graphic novel about the Iranian revolution and how she and her family coped. The second book is about how she coped in Europe; and on return to Iran. There is a gentle naiveté about her writing and yet she does not pull her punches in criticizing the Islamists who have taken over Iran. Ms. Satrapi now lives in Paris, and writes childrens books and for magazines.

I liked both books. The authors descriptions of late adolescence and young adulthood are very apt, and I could not help but appreciate how difficult it was for her to go through the "revolution". The repressive regime did make her life much more difficult and I admired her ability to work around it successfully until she left Iran for good.
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LibraryThing member norabelle414
Marjane is now a teenager, has left Iran, and is attending school in Vienna. She feels isolated from her peers because they are rich and do not understand what her life was like in a "third-world country". She falls in with a crowd of anarchists who seem to idolize her for her expiriences, especially with death. They don't provide her with a sense of belonging any more than her rich classmates did. The isolation eventually crushes her, and she moves back to Iran. There, she has something in common with everyone: the fear and oppression of a religious extremist government.

This is really an amazingly accessible book. To a large extent Marjane's troubles are universal: she is a teenager who feels she does not fit in with anyone. She eventually comes around to the idea that the people she shares the most with are those she thought she shared the least with: her parents. At the same time, it's an incredible and emotional picture of Iran from inside, told from the perspective of an ordinary girl, with the assistance of simple drawings. These two graphic novels should be required reading for everyone.
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LibraryThing member ydraughon
The second part to her comic-strip memior, Satrapi tells of her after the reveloution. Her parents are concerned about the new Islamic government so they have sent her to Austria to live and continue her education. In this book she continues her outspoken political views, experiments with sexual freedom and drugs, returns home marries and divorces. Teens can relate to this book about alienation and misunderstanding. I thought that the first book was better. It could also be used more in classroom settings. This book I don't that I would use it in the classroom.… (more)
LibraryThing member name99
The author is still at it, complaining about everything in the world and imagining that no-one else has ever suffered like she has.
Her books are interesting for what they say about Iran, but, damn, I wish she'd include more of the outside world and less of her never-ending angst.
LibraryThing member TanyaTomato
Graphic novel - Author recounts being sent away to school and her feelings for her home country, Iran.
LibraryThing member dr_zirk
While not quite as enjoyable as the first volume, Persepolis 2 is still a worthwhile read, since it profiles the author's moves back and forth between life in fundamentalist Iran and a more liberated, if equally frustrating, life in Western Europe. Satrapi isn't afraid to reveal her own shortcomings, including her occasional awful behavior towards other people. For me, this is what makes this volume less satisfying than the first - in this second installment, we meet a more mature and rounded narrator (the author), but we also get to know more of her flaws, and discover that she is a less likable person than the child of the first book. Nonetheless, Persepolis 2 is an engaging read, and a nice capstone to Satrapi's story.… (more)
LibraryThing member KevlarRelic
As good as, if not better than the first Persepolis. My only regret is that I was not able to read it in the original french.
LibraryThing member PAUlibrary
Picking up where her debut memoir-in-comics concluded; details the experiences of a young Iranian woman cast abroad by political turmoil in her native country.
LibraryThing member library_chan
I loved the first book of this series, and this one is just as good. I'm addicted.
LibraryThing member bplma
Marjane Satrapi's honest and compelling memoir of her young adult (15-22)years--continues the story where Persepolis left off. A 15 year old Setrapi arrives alone in Austria only to find herself a virtual refugee in a country she has never visited and does not speak the language. Lonely and frightened, and later depressed, Satrapi uses various coping mechanisms--lying, drugs, cynicism--that leave her feeling unhappy and further isolated. At 19, she flees Austria to return to Teheran, only to find herself a refugee (of sorts) in her own country. And things have changed in Iran; politcal repression and war have taken their toll; Even her parents seen to be cynical and have lost much hope. Where in the West she was defined entirely as an Iranian, in Iran she was defined almost entirely as a Westerner and her angst continues. A coming of age story filled with angst; a young woman trying to find her way under a repressive Islamic fundamentalist regime. Painfully honest and thought provoking, we hurt for Satrapi as she tries to discover what is important and who she wants to be. **must be paired with Persepolis I for full impact. I loved it.… (more)
LibraryThing member eduscapes
The second in a two-part series, Persepolis 2 begins in Austria. It's 1984 and Marjane finds that life in secular Europe is not as wonderful as she had hoped. We follow Marjane through high school and college as she grows into a young adult. While dealing with many of the same themes as Persepolis, Satrapi's second book is much darker and cynical than the first. Through simple black and white illustrations, she relates the repression and chauvinism of life in Iran as well as her journey to find her place in the world. Persepolis is a wonderful example of the best in graphic memoir.… (more)
LibraryThing member duck2ducks
Even better than the first. Not sure if it's because Marjane's storytelling abilities had evolved so much more by this point, or because this volume - covering her teenage years and early adulthood - simply appealed to me more in terms of the personal discoveries involved. In any case, she's fantastic, and hers is an eye-opening and inspiring story.… (more)
LibraryThing member BookinKim
In this sequel, Marjane lets readers back into her life in order to share the next portion of it. After conditions in Iran worsen, she moves to Austria. Follow Marjane's adventure as she adjusts to living abroad, crazy roommates, addictions, and not having a home. Will Marjane find a place to live in Austria? Or will she have to return home to Iran?… (more)
LibraryThing member seph
I started reading this book before bed one evening and quickly swept through a third of it before I realized I really ought to get some sleep. I finished it the next day. It's a quick and very enjoyable read. This second part of Satrapi's memoir deals with her teen and early adult years. I still enjoyed her perspective as an Iranian, but I found her perspective as a young adult even more compelling. It makes the world seem all the smaller to know that people from all nations all go through some of the same growth and personal development experiences. This is a charming memoir by a charming and intelligent woman.… (more)
LibraryThing member stephmo
This continues Marjane's story from the original Persepolis immediately. She is in Austria, save from the war at home, far away from the love and security of family. While in Europe, we experience the Westernization of Marjane which comes both with advantage in intellectual and emotional pursuits. Unfortunately, these pursuits do not come without an overindulgent side. For as much as Marjane is able to flourish in Europe, there comes a point where it nearly swallows her whole and her return to Iran is preferable.

Marjane's return becomes the second half of the book. Unlike the prior book, this is no longer a cute girl rebelling against the scarf. This is a rebellion with severe stakes. Still, this is a story of a woman learning to remain true to herself while laying out the mistakes that she makes for examination. It's moving, angering and even funny.
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LibraryThing member cabegley
Persepolis 2 picks up where Persepolis left off, with teenaged Marjane newly arrived in Vienna to go to school. Although her parents had arranged for her to stay with friends, after 10 days she is packed off to a boarding house run by nuns. Marjane bounces from place to place and identity to identity, eventually ending up homeless on the streets of Vienna. When she finally returns home to Iran, she finds that her country has changed as much as she has.

Satrapi is as hard on herself as she is on those she feels wronged her throughout her teen and young adult years, including some shameful incidents she could have glossed over. In one story, Satrapi is out on the streets in Iran wearing lipstick, and when a carful of Guardians of the Revolution arrive, she fears they will arrest her for it. To distract them, she accuses a man on the street of saying something indecent to her, and they arrest him instead. She finds this funny, and shares the story with her boyfriend and then with her grandmother. It isn't until her grandmother yells at her and storms out that Satrapi really thinks about what she has done.

I have almost no experience with the graphic format--aside from Persepolis and Persepolis 2 I have read a few short pieces--so I'm not able to judge this book against others of its type. But if they work as well as Satrapi's does, I will be looking for more graphic works. In Persepolis 2, Satrapi uses the words to get across her story and her pictures to do the real talking. Satrapi's story as a troubled teen trying to find herself is compelling, but it is her images of life in Iran after the revolution that haunt.

(A minor note for parents: I took this volume out of the library, where it was shelved under YA (as were all their graphic-format books, apparently). Satrapi depicts sex and drug use frankly in this work, and I would hesitate to call it YA.)
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LibraryThing member anyanwubutler
This graphic memoir follows Satrapi’s four years as an adolescent in Austria, and the six years following that back in Iran to her eventual permanent exile to France, from 1984-1994. In Austria she is sent to live at a convent school, and again, runs afoul of the nuns. As a teenager in exile on her own, she doesn’t know how to fit in. Austrian teens and adults can’t imagine her experiences in Iran. When she goes back to Iran, they can’t imagine her life in Austria, nor can she imagine theirs in Iran. Eventually, she goes to art school, in her life drawing class, she draws a woman who is entirely shrouded; they learn to draw drapes. “The regime understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself: Are my trousers long enough? Is my veil in place? Can my makeup be seen? Are they going to whip me? No longer asks herself: Where is my freedom of thought? Where is my freedom of speech? My life, is it livable? What’s going on in the political prisons?” Apparently, there is a third of these, at least in French, I hope it gets translated soon. I also will try to get the movie based on these books by Satrapi.… (more)
LibraryThing member sara_k
Persepolis 2 is, of course, the sequel to Persepolis which I read earlier this Summer. At the end of Persepolis, Marjane was being sent away from Iran by her parents to the safety and sanity of Vienna. In Persepolis 2 Marjane chronicles, with great honesty, her sojourn. She has been sent to live with an Aunt but soon finds herself living without the support of family or community. Marjane struggles to fit in and to not fit be normal but to find that normal outside of the mainstream (where she REALLY doesn't fit in). She encounters situations and adopts habits of which even her liberal parents would not understand or approve. Looking for friendship and stability Marjane finds herself stumbling along believing the best of everyone until she can not mistake their racism or use of her for anything close to friendship. Betrayed and embarrased to admit her failure to her family, MArjane burns several bridges behind her and ends up living on the trains and streets for several monthes. She finally reaches out to her parents only to find that they have always had their arms and hearts open to her. Shaken by her failure in the West, Marjane returns to Iran. Always sassy, she returns to the veiled life a depressed woman. She attempts suicide, her anger and pain are very present. Failing at suicide, she feels a new lease to life and embarks on a dichotomy of veiled life and wild parties. She attends art school, marries, and divorces. Along the way she tries to retain the confidence that her parents had nurtured in her from her childhood; she argues for more appropriate clothing for female art students, talks back to religious enforcers who chastise her for the way her bottom bounces when she runs for a bus, and re-evaluates who she is and who she wants to be. This is all done against the backdrop of militant religious oppression the effects of which are show on Marjane and among her friends and family.

I gave copies of this book to a 12 year old girl, those women in their 30's-40's, and the couple in their 70's. I recommended the book to several men and women in their 40-50's. I read this book along with a 9 year old girl who read Persepolis; we were able to talk about the drug and sexual experiences as part of Marjane's whole story.
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LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: Persepolis 2 continues the story of Persepolis. In this volume, Marjane is a teenager going to school in Austria. The trials and tribulations of teenager-dom are hard enough for anyone, but Marjane is far from her family, doesn't speak the language, and doesn't really fit in with the few friends she has. After graduation, she returns to Iran, but she has to face not only the changes the intervening years have wrought upon her home, but also the fact that she is now considered "too Western" to fit in there, either.

Review: I enjoyed Persepolis 2 just as much as, if not slightly more than, I did Persepolis. While both volumes are a definitely blend of the personal and the political, and deal with the intersection of the two, I thought the first volume was a little more on the political side of things, while this one felt more personal. While that makes the first one carry a little more clout and importance, it also makes the second one more immediately relatable. I mean, I've never lived through a bombing (thank god!), but I certainly did spend part of my teen years feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere. There's nothing to say which of the two approaches makes for a better book - they're just two different books, with different points and different themes (although clearly with the same sensibility.) I think I got more emotionally involved with the second volume, but they're both definitely worth reading. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Don't read them out of order, but I definitely recommend both of them.
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LibraryThing member bell7
After leaving home to go to school in Vienna at the end of Persepolis, Marjane moves from one home to another, all the while trying to fit in with classmates. Beginning when she was fourteen, she recounts rooming in a convent, her first love, and finally living on the streets before returning to Iran.

Her story of adolescence and young adulthood is heartbreaking. The theme of fitting in - or not - among others stands out throughout much of the story: too Western here, too Eastern there, and feeling separated because of the vast differences between experience of war or love or what have you. Though the particulars may not seem familiar, the universal themes are completely relatable.… (more)
LibraryThing member the_awesome_opossum
Just as Persepolis was set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution, Persepolis II follows Marjane into the Iran-Iraq War. Kind of. She's in Europe for a lot of it, and a good amount of the book is about her experiences with family and friends and relationships and less about politics.

But the fundamentalist government lurks in the background and affects even the most minute aspects of Marjane's life - for example, a life drawing class is more or less useless when everyone has to cover every inch of skin. She reflects that these strict prohibitions are only distractions; if women walk outside every day wondering whether their pants are long enough, they then wouldn't be wondering where their freedom of thought and speech went.

Persepolis is an interesting coming of age story, and a critical but thoughtful look at recent Iranian history
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LibraryThing member lindenstein
My first experience with Satrapi's work, this book compelled me to read the first volume and then return to the second to get the whole story in its correct order. Where the first Persepolis is the story of a childhood, this volume is more personal, and is more of a coming-of-age story. I think that the two volumes do a wonderful job of complementing each other, and would definitely recommend that a person read both of the stories, as they give a complete picture of the effects that the events of the first book had on the life of the protagonist, who in the second book leaves her homeland for safety, and is forced to grow up very quickly, without her family. The imagery of the graphic novel does not detract from the story, but contrasts the "gray zone" of trying to navigate adolescence, a changing world and the desire to return home with the stark black-and-white nature of the illustrations.… (more)
LibraryThing member PennsaukenLibrary
As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up — here compounded by Marjane's status as an outsider both abroad and at home — it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.
LibraryThing member Shopoholic
Just as good as the first book in the series, this one faccinated me by her account of young adulthood, marriage, and divorce. Using the same stark little drawings, she shows herself struggling to content with complicated social and political issues. Again, I was grateful for her clear descriptions of politics I've never really understood. Definately read Book One first.… (more)
LibraryThing member jovilla
This graphic novel is the continuation of the autobiography of a young girl growing up in revolutionary Iran, a repressive society, and how she copes with her situation. It is well done.


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