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The Story of a Return

A-Persepolis2The first volume of Satrapi’s biographical trilogy ended in 1984, when Marjane was 14 and leaving fundamentalist Iran for school in Vienna. Persepolis 2 follows the heroine’s adolescent (and Western) hijinks in Europe—including (gasp!) drugs, sex, and life on the streets—before she returns to her parents in war-battered Tehran at the age of 19. Now in her veil, our loud-mouthed heroine must contend with a society severely divided by gender and ruled by religion.
Pantheon. 192 pages. $17.95. ISBN: 0375422889

NY Times Book Review 4.5 of 5 Stars
"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. … And it is wildly charming." Luc Sante

Entertainment Weekly 4.5 of 5 Stars
"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." Nisha Gopalan

San Francisco Chronicle 4 of 5 Stars
"But it’s only when she returns to Iran after her life implodes in Vienna that the story really picks up. … What is astonishing about Satrapi’s work is that with evocative drawings and minimal use of words, it creates immensely sympathetic and real characters." Sandip Roy

Oregonian 4 of 5 Stars
"It adds adolescence and regret to what was already a heady mix of comedy and tragedy. … That’s a lot of ground to cover in a novel, much less 192 pages of comics. And yet Persepolis 2 never feels anything less than effortless." M.E. Russell

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Satrapi has real comic timing, which she makes good use of in the teenage narrative." Laurel Maury

USA Today 4 of 5 Stars
"Although Satrapi is able to convey a wide range of emotions, the simplicity of the artwork lacks the texture of [Art Spiegelman’s] Maus, thus keeping Persepolis from rising above a child’s point of view." Christopher Theokas

Critical Summary

Highly recommended, across the board. Critics heap effusive praise on Satrapi’s drawing style, her humor-laced narrative, and her poignant and unflinching coming-of-age storyline. "It would have made a stirring document no matter how it was told, but the graphic form … endows it with a combination of dynamism and intimacy uniquely suited to a narrative at once intensely subjective and world-historical," explains The New York Times. Here’s an atypical situation— the sequel is better than the original.

Also by the Author

Persepolis The Story of a Childhood | By Marjane Satrapi (2003): 3.5 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2003. Satrapi recounts her childhood in Iran before and after the downfall of the Shah.