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Persepolis 2

The Story of a Return

Written by Marjane SatrapiAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Marjane Satrapi

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE & AWARDS PRAISE & AWARDS
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
EVENTS EVENTS
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Synopsis

Synopsis

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.
Marjane Satrapi|Author Desktop

About Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis 2

Photo © Maria Ortis

MARJANE SATRAPI was born in Rasht, Iran. She now lives in Paris, where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is the author of Persepolis, Persepolis 2, Embroideries, Chicken with Plums, and several children's books. She cowrote and codirected the animated feature film version of Persepolis, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Her  most recent film was a live-action version of Chicken with Plums.

Author Q&A

The following pages are excerpted from Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. Copyright © 2005 by Marjane Satrapi Excerpted by permission of Pantheon, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Praise | Awards

Praise

"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."
People

"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."
Elle

"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."
Newsweek

"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


From the Hardcover edition.

Awards

WINNER YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER Booklist Editor's Choice for Young Adults
WINNER School Library Journal Adult Books for Young Adults
Reader's Guide|Author Biography|Discussion Questions|Suggestions

About the Book

The questions and discussion topics that follow are designed to enhance your group’s reading of Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis 2 begins where Persepolis ends, with Marjane leaving Iran and arriving in Austria to attend high school and live with family friends. After four years filled with loneliness, confusion and prejudice, Marjane returns to her parents in Iran. We observe her difficult homecoming and the life she manages to carve out for herself–friends, university, romance–before the repression and the relentless, state-sanctioned chauvinism force her to face whether she can have a future in her homeland. Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant, Persepolis 2 follows the life of Marjane and her country.

About the Author

Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She now lives in Paris and is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world. Persepolis was translated into twelve languages and was awarded the first Fernando Buesa Peace Prize in Spain in 2003.

Discussion Guides

1. Compare Persepolis 2 to other stories of the immigrant experience you’ve read (perhaps The House on Mango Street, The House of Sand and Fog, The Joy Luck Club) or to what you imagine emigrating to a new country to be like. What are the basic difficulties shared by immigrants? What does one gain and lose by leaving one’s country and adopting a new one? How does one calculate/weigh the gains and losses? Why does Marjane leave Iran, return, and then leave again? Will she always be “a Westerner in Iran, an Iranian in the West”?

2. How do you think Marjane’s experience would have been similar or different if she had gone to a high school in the United States, in your hometown? Would you have befriended her?

3. Why is adolescence an especially difficult time to move to a new country? Or even to a new city? What is universal about Marjane’s high school experience? What is unusual about her situation? Compare/contrast her high school experience to your own.

4. How is Persepolis 2 particular to its time? How does the cultural and political atmosphere of the 1980s affect Marjane? What trends (in attitude, dress) does Marjane refer to and adopt in Austria that are specific to the 1980s? What does the book teach you about that time? What were you doing in the 1980s?

5. What are the similarities and differences between the little girl in Persepolis and the more mature Marjane in Persepolis 2? How has she changed? In what ways have her experiences affected her personality? And how has her personality affected her experiences?

6. What does Marjane learn from her experiences with drugs, homelessness, depression, and a suicide attempt? How did she slip into those periods? What external and internal forces brought her to take to living on the streets? How does she overcome these obstacles and transform herself into a stronger woman?

7. How is this story different in comic strip form than if it were a straight prose memoir? What do the black and white images add to the narrative? What has Satrapi emphasized and what has she overlooked by telling her story in a non-traditional manner?

8. How is Marjane’s political sense/being formed? Which experiences and people most influence her and pique her interest in politics?

9. Persepolis, the first volume, received much praise and sold well across the United States. How do you explain its appeal? Why is a book about growing up in Iran succeeding in the United States at this time? What drew you to this book? What have you learned about Iran? How is Iran’s recent history inextricably entwined with Marjane’s story?

10. What have you learned about university life in Tehran? Describe how the authorities enforce the separation of the sexes, and how the students circumvent these rules. If you’ve read Reading Lolita in Tehran, compare the life of those women with that of Marjane and her friends.

11. In the beginning of Persepolis 2, Marjane wants to become “a liberated and emancipated woman.” By the end, do you think she achieves this goal? In what ways is this story a typical coming-of-age tale filled with obstacles that the protagonist must overcome on her journey to adulthood? How is this similar or different to coming-of-age stories that you’ve read?

12. Persepolis 2 is filled with vibrant secondary characters. Describe some of them. Describe the men in Marjane’s life and her relationships with them. Who stands out as the most memorable and influential person on Marjane?

13. Why does Marjane frame an innocent man while waiting for her boyfriend one afternoon? How is she betraying her family as well as the man himself? How does she redeem herself in her grandmother’s eyes? While in Austria, Marjane tries to assimilate and denies being Iranian, “betraying my parents and my origins”? How and why does she betray them? What are the consequences of this? Do you think her betrayals are justified?

14. How do tradition, family, duty, opportunity and memory each play a role in determining whether Marjane returns to Europe or not by the end of the book? Why do Marjane’s parents encourage her to leave both times, as a 14-year-old and as a 22-year-old, though they remain in Iran?

15. Despite being forced to wear the veil in Iran and hating it, Satrapi recently wrote an article in The Guardian (UK) newspaper against banning the veil in French schools and stating that forcing girls not to wear the veil is as bad as forcing them to do so. Do you agree with her stance? Describe the role of the veil in Persepolis 2. What is its religious and social purpose? How do the women deal with wearing the veil?

Suggested Readings

Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street; Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog; Firoozeh Dumas’s Funny in Farsi; Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior; Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran; Joe Sacco’s Palestine; Art Spiegelman’s Maus; Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.
Marjane Satrapi

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Photo © Maria Ortis

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