Title: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.
Author: Marjane Satrapi.
Genre: Non-fiction, graphic novel, memoir, politics, romance, religion, political dissent, feminism.
Publication Date: 2000-2003 serialized (2004 in English).
Summary: 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.
My rating: 9/10.
♥ That day, I learned something essential: we can only feel sorry for ourselves when our misfortunes are still supportable. Once this limit is crossed, the only way to bear the unbearable is to laugh at it.
♥ In 1990, the era of revolutionary ideas and demonstrations was over. Between 1980 and 1983, the government had imprisoned and executed so many high-school and college students that we no longer dared to talk politics. Our struggle was more discreet. It hinged on the little details. To out leaders, the smallest thing could be a subject of subversion. In short... everything was a pretext to arrest us. I even remember spending an entire day at the committee because of a pair of red socks.
The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself: "Are my trousers long enough? Is my veil in place? Can my make-up 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?" It's only natural! When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression. Showing your hair or putting on makeup logically became acts of rebellion.
♥ "Can you explain to me what's indecent about making love with your boyfriend? Shut up yourself! My body is my own! I give it to whomever I want! It's nobody else's business!"
I didn't say everything I could have: that she was frustrated because she was still a virgin at twenty-seven! That she was forbidding me what was forbidden to her! That to marry someone that you don't know, for his money, is prostitution. That despite her locks of hair and her lipstick, she was acting like the state. That... etc... That day, half the class turned its back on me.