The Story of a Return
By Marjane Satrapi
Pantheon Books, Paperback, 9780375714665, 187pp.
Publication Date: August 2, 2005
List Price: $13.95*
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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.
"Wildly charming . . . Like a letter from a friend, in this case a wonderful friend: honest, strong-willed, funny, tender, impulsive, and self-aware."
—Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review
"The most original coming-of-age story from the Middle East yet."
"Elegant, simple panels tell this story of growth, loneliness, and homecoming with poignant charm and wit."
—The Washington Post
"Humorous and heartbreaking . . . A welcome look beind the headlines and into the heart and mind of one very wise, wicked, and winning young woman."
"Scary, moving, and etched out with a simplicity that speaks volumes. The arist is less a talent than a force."
—The Austin Chronicle
"Irresistible . . . Satrapi's story is too important—and too fascinating—to let go of."
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Powerful . . . A great, engaging tale . . . As deeply satisfying as a good, old-fashioned prose novel and as visually delightful as old picture books from childhood."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Every revolution needs a chronicler like Satrapi."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"It is our good fortune that Satrapi has never stopped visiting Iran in her mind."
"Persepolis 2 is much more than the chronicle of a young woman’s struggle into adulthood; it’s a brilliant, painful, rendering of the contrast between East and West, between the repression of wartime Iran and the social, political, and sexual freedoms of 1980’s Austria. There’s something universal about Satrapi’s search for self-definition, but her experiences in Vienna and Tehran are rendered with such witty particularity, and such heartbreaking honesty, that by the end of this book you’ll feel you’ve gained an intimate friend."
—Julie Orringer, author of How To Breathe Underwater
"Marjane Satrapi's books are a revelation. They're funny, they're sad, they're hugely readable. Most importantly, they remind you that the media sometimes tell you the facts but rarely tell you the truth. In one afternoon Persepolis will teach you more about Iran, about being an outsider, about being human, than you could learn from a thousand hours of television documentaries and newspaper articles. And you will remember it for a very long time."
—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time