by Marjane Satrapi

Paper Book, 2003


An intelligent and outspoken only child, Satrapi--the daughter of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor--bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.… (more)



Call number



New York : Pantheon Books, c2003.

Media reviews

Satrapi’s style is almost primitive, consisting of flat figures with simple shapes and features. It’s more sophisticated than a child’s creations, but it superficially resembles them, an approach that supports the presentation of memories from that period of life.
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Marjane Satrapi's ''Persepolis'' is the latest and one of the most delectable examples of a booming postmodern genre: autobiography by comic book.

User reviews

LibraryThing member -Cee-
This book was my first graphic. It was interesting to see the pictures along with the text. The artwork is simple and effective. The impact of the visual art adds a strong emotional dimension entangled with the author's verbal relating of her memories.

This is an autobiograpical sketch of a young
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girl's confusion in a chaotic world of rebel adults. This world includes lies, torture, death, cover-ups, hope, love and deep sadness. Marjane, in her pre-teen years, develops an understanding of how to find truth and clarity while living in a world of conflict.

The ending is not an ending, really. It is a lead-in to Persepolis 2, apparently a continuation and hopefully a resolution. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member cestovatela
I'm not a fan of graphic novels and I've read more than my fair share about the Iranian revolution, so I was surprised to find myself fully absorbed by this book after reading just a few sentences at Border's. The graphic novel format really fits the child's eye perspective of the book. With short,
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sharp illustrated anecdotes, we see how unreal and confusing a cultural revolution is for a 10-year-old girl. Little Marjane is surprisingly adorable in her yearning for her father to be arrested and tortured so that she can be the most popular girl in school. Little by little, reality creeps in in the form of executed neighbors and dying relatives. As Marjane comes of age, we see how monstrous the revolution really is but neither she nor her family are saints -- just like Americans talking about the war in Iraq, the family switches easily from political discussion to neighborhood gossip. Eighties fads and childhood fights are as much a part of this book as suffering through the reign of the Ayatollah. This made the family easy to relate to, which is probably why the ending moved me so much. I'd recommend this book to anyone, including those who've OD'd on memoirs of Iran or don't usually like graphic novels.
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LibraryThing member nmhale
After watching the movie of the same name, I knew that I had to read these graphic novel memoirs. What an incredibly powerful story Satrapi shares. She grew up in Iran, surviving the downfall of the Shah, the revolution, and the repressive regime that followed, and the war with Iraq. Neither she
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nor her family were militantly Islamic, and most of their friends were not, either. Somehow, they manage to patch together lives that are as normal as possible, sneaking parties behind closed curtains and smuggling heavy metal posters from other countries.

One reason I loved this story was that Satrapi shows us how human Iranians are, that they're regular people, like us. A few extremists may run the country, and make the headlines, but that is not an accurate depiction of the general population. They love their country and their heritage, even if they are horrified by what is happening. Many of them fled the country, but just as many stayed, tied down by careers, family, and a love of their people. Her story is fraught with sad and funny juxtapositions of regular life and the horrific events that suddenly explode in between. I truly didn't know much about Iran beyond the big headlines; reading this story made me so much more aware of the human level.

Another reason that this was such a great read is the story and the people involved, as well as the artwork. When we first meet Satrapi, she is a feisty little girl, and I quickly fell in love with her personality. Her parents are strong and seek justice, and the lives of her whole family, as well as the people around them, are simply incredible. The illustrations are black and white, almost cartoony. This format, along with her humor, and all the interspersed anecdotes of everyday life, made the sadness so much more bearable. She does write of the atrocities, but she also writes of the beauty and courage; while there is sadness, it is not of an overwhelming despair type. Although Satrapi doesn't shy from any of the ugly truths in her country, she also demonstrates that many Iranians are just normal people, trying to live normal lives. An exceptional story by a very talented young woman.
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LibraryThing member gkuhns
This memoir in the form of a graphic novel illustrates the story of a childhood lived in pre-and post-revolutionary Iran. The author details her family’s struggles in their new life under the Islamic regime that deposed the Shah. Since this is a graphic novel, the illustrations are one of the
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most important aspects of its power. Simple, cartoony, even cute black and white illustrations make identification with characters easy, even though these characters are living in a country on the other side of the world. The expressive pictures reveal complicated emotions; perhaps the most effective image is the last one, which shows a mother fainting with grief when she sends her daughter to Austria. The use of irony and humor to relate difficult ideas makes this work appealing to teenagers. This book also conveys important information, especially considering current events, but does so in a way that is accessible to less serious readers.
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LibraryThing member bplma
Graphic novel memoir told in the voice of the young teen Satrapi, Persepolis shows us what life was like under the Iranian Islamic revolution for a 10 to 14 yr old and her family. We see the uncertainty, the terror, the bad behavior and lack of charity, the very real fear of the secret police, the
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political repression, school days, censorship, family life, and war with Iraq. All seen through the eyes of a young Satrapi , the memoir ends with her hasty trip out of Iran to Austria because the family thought it was too unsafe for her in Teheran. She was forced to leave Iran alone. The story is told in dialogue and is thought provoking. Persepolis (an ancient city in Persia) is autobiographical, and while it deals with her growing into a young adult, it all occurs in Iran during the Iranian revolution. We get a rare glimpse of family life under a repressive regime right as events unfold. It is well written, well drawn and powerful. 10/06
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LibraryThing member eilonwy_anne
I was impressed by the honesty with which Satrapi looks back on her childhood self, complete with fads, phases, and foolishness. She tells the interwoven stories of herself and her country with relatability and grace.
LibraryThing member jovilla
Persepolis, the Story of a Childhood is a graphic novel set in Iran in the 80's when the Shah was on his way out and the religious extremists took over the country. A young girl named Marji was growing up with her adoring parents, struggling to figure out her life, witnessing war and oppression.
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This is a very worthwhile book, well written and illustrated. I recommend it.
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LibraryThing member Devil_llama
A graphic novel autobiography about the Iranian Revolution. The author grew up in a secular, modern family in Iran, but with the revolution, things in her world began changing. Now she has chosen to share her experience with the world, not just because the world needs a history lesson, but because
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she wants it to be known that not all Iranians are fundamentalists who want to live in an Islamic government and force everyone else to do the same. The work is witty and snarky, with the author poking fun at her 12-year-old self, and opening up private wounds to public viewing. Perhaps the graphic novel decision was wise, because the format and the humor help keep this from horrifying so much that you can't get through it, but at the same time, make it possible to go a bit further than you can go in a standard format. It's a very powerful work.
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LibraryThing member enbrown504
Persepolis is a graphic memoir that tells the story of the authors experience growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. The format is an interesting off shoot of the graphic format taking the form of a memoir. The accuracy can be assumed to be dependable since it is a personal account of
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the author's childhood experience. The text is limited instead relying heavily on illustration to tell the story and make impressions on the reader. The text that is included is small and is often quotation. The organization is narrative and chronological. The story is separated into chapters but they are not summarized in a table of contents. I enjoyed this book and its unconventional format but would find it hard to apply to the science curriculum.
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LibraryThing member eejjennings
Unfamiliar as I am with graphic novels, this wasn't my favorite book, although I did get a glimpse inside revolutionary Iran through the eyes of an especially precocious child with very free thinking and brave parents. It should be an interesting book to discuss along with Septembers of Shiraz at
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our book group tomorrow.
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LibraryThing member rmthoma2
This book is a graphic novel and one of the first i have ever read . I personal didn't like it only because its not something i'm used to . The book tells about a girls life living through the Islamic Revolution in Iran . The drawing are all in black and white which adds to the drama of the book .
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I did like the art work in the book but it was hard for me to follow along to what each part of the book was telling me . I wouldn't use this book in my classroom but kids all learn differently so it can still be used in other classes .
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LibraryThing member CarmellaLee
Personal Response: This graphic novel is one that truly was a story of history. I did not care for the black and white starkness of the pages. Although, I may not be a good judge since I do not like comics or graphic novels anyway. This may be part of the story, to express the feelings. Others do
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which is great, they are reading!

Curricular or Programming Connection: Great for history discussion dealing with the Iran/Iraq war and the Islam families.
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LibraryThing member Readers_Respite
A dubious convert to graphic novels, I loved this amazing recollection of a childhood in Iran following the revolution. Not only did it convey the politics going on, but it illuminated the plight of so many Iranians, including the answer to my question: why did they stay? The illustrations are
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poignant and perfectly fitted to the story. I was so very impressed. 4.5 stars! If you've never picked up a graphic novel before, this is an excellent place to start.
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LibraryThing member jmsummer
Persepolis tells the story of a young girl growing up during the time of the Islamic Revolution. It gives a view of her life from before the revolution leading up to her parents sending her to France for her safety. This book is unique since it is done in the style of a graphic novel. This does
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lend itself to the authors story. We always associate comics with children. It also hides the greater subjects in the book: revolution, war, suffering, lose, fear, and hope. Instead of words, you have hand drawn ilustrations to make your mind ask question instead of being told. It is a good choice for visual learners, as they can make their own asumptions about the book based on the picture, which can lead them into dicussion. The artstyle also allows teachers to bring across the subject war and revolution with showing the students actually photographs, which could be offensive or not appropriate for the class. I would use this book together with other history texts dealing with the Islamic revolution and the middle east at the time.
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LibraryThing member jyasinchuk
Persepolis' is an astounding memoir of the Satrapi's youth during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. While retellig the atorcities daily horror (including bombings, murders, arrests and riots) is mind-numbing, what is so extraordinary about her story is how it is otherwise so ordinary. Satrapi
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experiments with cigarettes, listens to punk music and hangs posters on her walls--all the 'fundamentals' of an western adolescent life. This focus gives 'Persepolis' a universal appeal, and an accessibility that makes the differences all the more paralyzing. The stark reality that Satrapi and her family live in constant danger is effecting, and it will not leave you when you put the book down. Note: Persepolis contains highly graphic and mature subject matter. Recommended for mature Grade 11 class and older audiences.
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LibraryThing member NathanielLouisWood
This stirring memoir recount the childhood of Marjane Satrapi. She experiences loss and harassment due to the revolution. Marjane tries to live a normal childhood, and her parents try to provide it to her despite the restrictions. This book gives those intimate details of daily life which would
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take extensive research if not spelled out in such personal detail. this book would be a great introduction to the subject of the Iranian revolution, or simply a great read in itself.
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LibraryThing member joannachilders
Even for those who are not fans of the graphic novel format, Persepolis is a worthwhile read. The autobiographical account, told from the perspective of a child gives life to events most young adults only read about briefly in history books. Marjane Satrapi lived during the Islamic Revolution of
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Iran, and recounts her imagined conversations with God and Marx, how glamorous she thought demonstrations to be, the overthrow of the Shah, and the surprising totalitarian regime that took the Shah's place. Satrapi isn't sentimental, but tells of the executions, rules, regulations, and restrictive lifestyle that led to her being sent to Austria by her parents. Persepolis is a sometimes humorous, sometimes horrifying account of a childhood during the Islamic Revolution.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
A compelling memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is both a moving portrait of one young girl's life, and a keenly-observed record of the political and religious events unfolding in her country. The author chronicles her family's initial
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jubilation at the fall of the brutal and corrupt regime of the Shah, their dismay at the growing repressiveness of the new theocracy, and their suffering (along with their countrymen) during the Iran-Iraq War.

Usually indifferent to the charm of comics and graphic-novels, I was all-the-more impressed by Persepolis, which I found both intellectually and visually engaging. Satrapi's seemingly effortless marriage of image and word is a joy to experience, and her observations of the world around her sometimes struck a powerful chord in me.

Her belief, as a child, that she would grow up to be one of God's prophets, made me chuckle in self-recognition. Who has not felt the self-evident rightness of their own position, particularly before maturity teaches us that it is possible for more than one belief to be "right?" Her parents' observation at one point, that it was the religious authorities who were the true perverts, reminded me strongly of similar conversations about authority figures on the part of my own parents. It is a mark of her genius that Satrapi's narrative can be so utterly foreign and familiar at the same time.
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LibraryThing member bderby
Marjane Satrapi uses a comic-book style to recreate stories of her childhood in Iran. This text makes Iranian life more accessible to individuals from all countries and helps remove the "other" stigma. If used in an American secondary ed classroom, this text would not only serve to show students
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that people in Iran are not all that different from people in the U.S., but also to educate them about some of the governmental policies in other countries. Persepolis clearly demonstrates that the freedoms celebrated in the U.S. are not available everywhere, and that even if an individual strives for change in government and policy, change is not always possible.
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LibraryThing member rfewell
If I don't know much about a subject, I always pick up a Graphic Novel or children's non-fiction. This graphic memoir introduced me to the Iranian revolution, to the plight of women in the middle east, and to a culture so different from my own. It's a wonderful introduction for those who are
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reluctant to try this genre.
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LibraryThing member EdGoldberg
Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical Graphic Novel, Persepolis, is worthy of any awards it has garnered. It portrays the Cultural Revolution in Iran through the eyes of a child, from age 8 to 12. It contrasts Marjane's innocence against the atrocities perpetrated by both the Shah and the succeeding
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regime. No one was exempt from the horrors of war: demonstrators, Communists, families, etc. Marjane lost both friends and family as a result of the revolution.

Unlike Malcolm X: A Graphic Novel Biography (which I just finished), the drawings in Persepolis enhance the story, especially since she both wrote and illustrated the book. You can see her joys and sorrows. You can see the atrocities, the demonstrations, the impact of the bombing of Iran by Iraq.

The sadness that her family feels as they send her to live with relatives in Austria is apparent. Whether they will see each other again is unknown.

The black and white illustrations are high impact illustrations and do not lose anything because they are not in color.

I highly recommend Persepolis.
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LibraryThing member shawnr
In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi tells the story of growing up as a young girl in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. It is the kind of comic memoir we’ve seen from renowned artists like Art Spiegleman and Joe Sacco.

Satrapi’s experience is framed by her liberal family who oppose the radically
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conservative religious government that takes over after the Shah is ousted. The ensuing war with Iraq plunges the country into a worsening spiral of bad news, and puts the halt on an otherwise exuberant young girlhood.

The artwork is clean and spare, and the prose is similarly minimalist. The emphasis is not put on character development, and the plot moves along briskly. Each volume of the two book series is rather thin, giving the two graphic novels a distinctly journalistic feeling.

But the brevity of Satrapi’s depictions works in general, and many readers are likely to prefer the quick pace of Persepolis. In a time when greater understanding of the many histories of the Middle East is needed by westerners, Satrapi’s books should be on everyone’s reading list.
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LibraryThing member Tpoi
Satrapi writes and depicts in a vein somewhat similar to that found in Maus (which is bloody brilliant), at least the closest thing I can think of. Very clever and honest; touching but not sentimental. Unlike Maus, there is not a mixed chronological and mixed realistic/fable conception, but a
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rather more concrete and linear deptiction of coming to age both internationally (under the Shah, in worldy Europe (Austria) and then in the Islamic Republic of Iran) and inter-generationally.
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LibraryThing member IEliasson
Like Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir Persepolis tells the story of the horrific events during a time of war and political upheaval. Though not unfamiliar territory for the graphic novel, it is nonetheless unique in that the events in Persepolis are from
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Satrapi’s own life, ages 6-14, growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq. Thus we witness the turmoil and tragedy through the eyes of a girl and then a teenager who recounts the stories of family and friends who are victims and fellow observers of the tyranny first of the Shah, and then of the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi’s voice, sardonic, poignant, and droll, parallels her increasing maturity as her account progresses. Though written for adults, this memoir is well suited for young adult readers who can certainly relate to the narrator’s perspective and would be enlightening in bringing a personal story to the political events in an increasing volatile region of our world today.
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LibraryThing member corinneblackmer
As a precocious and much loved female child grows up in pre-and-post Revolutionary Iran, her parents finally decide that she must be sent out of the country before her outspoken nature lands her in dangerous trouble with the gruesome authorities in Iran's highly anti-Western, authoritarian, and
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theocratic government. I loved the intimate portrait of a loving family, showing their resourcefulness and mutual tenderness under the most difficult conditions.
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Original language


Original publication date

2003 (English translation)
2001 (part 2 in French)
2000 (part 1 in French)


037571457X / 9780375714573
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