Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
Publication: Pantheon (first published 2003), Hardcover, 144pg
Genres: Adult, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Purchase at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf
From the best–selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane’s tough–talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men. (From Goodreads)
This is my second Marjane Satrapi book, and it is VERY different from Persepolis. Persepolis had a wider angled lens (life before and after the 1979 revolution); Embroideries ostensibly takes place during a single conversation between M. Satrapi’s friends and family, though of course it spreads out a bit through those conversations.
They talk about love and life (in concrete details/stories), about “embroideries,”1 about what it means to be a woman in Iran, about LOTS of great stuff that, on the surface, doesn’t seem to add up to as solid a storyline as in Persepolis.
However, that’s totally untrue! Okay, maybe it’s not as historically interesting (as a revolution) that M. Satrapi’s aunt married multiple times. BUT it’s an insight into the lives of people who have lived (and do live?) through extraordinary events, and even the “mundane” stuff is interesting when told by that sort of person.
Plus, Marjane Satrapi has the BEST FAMILY EVER. It’s like every person in it has done 6x more awesome stuff than any other person. Embroideries also talks about people who weren’t really in Persepolis, like some of her cousins and a really cool aunt. It was very neat meeting new “characters,” especially when they’re kickass.
So, okay, maybe you won’t learn much about the wider history of Iran. But you’ll learn a lot about (some of) the people living there, and what their lives are like. You’ll learn about what they worry about, what they hope for, their dreams and disappointments. I really liked that it was entirely a conversation between women, too, because I don’t think there’s enough coverage about women’s lives in Iran outside of how it intersects with the government. (Not that I’m well-up on current events in Iran.)
Art-wise, Embroideries felt more like a zine than a “proper” comic. It’s a little rough, more light pages/empty spaces. It feels handmade and very cool. I liked it! (I’ve always like comic zines, though I haven’t read nearly enough.) Again, it’s a whole different feel from Persepolis, which has a lot of dark pages/spaces filled up with black. I’m sure that’s significant in some way, don’t you think?
I enjoyed reading Embroideries, and I’d love to read more books like it!
Read: May 21, 2013
- “reconstructive” surgery on your lady bits. ↩