Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran, and currently lives in Paris. She has written several children's books and her commentary and comics appear in newspapers and magazines around the world, including The New York Times and The New Yorker. She is also the author of the internationally best-selling and award-winning comic book autobiography in two parts, Persepolis and Persepolis 2.
"To speak behind others' backs is the ventilator of the heart": a sentiment surely shared by many people the world over but that acquires more urgency for women living under repression. With those words, Satrapi's formidable grandmother opens the door on an evening of gossip, confession, laughter, and tears among female friends and family in Iran. Grandma tells the story of a friend's botched attempt to pretend on her wedding night that she was still a virgin, another woman tells a story of cosmetic surgery with a hilarious punch line, and many of the women share stories of how they and their friends have suffered at the hands of husbands and lovers. Discussions of sex are frank and explicit and laced with high humor. As in her immensely acclaimed Persepolis, Satrapi's simple black-and-white cartooning style is tremendously effective, expertly portraying emotional nuances with just a few lines. While Persepolis had wide appeal to both genders, this book is likely to find a more predominately female audience; highly recommended for all adult collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"Tantalizing . . . Bold, bewitchingly humorous and politically
astute . . . A cheeky and knowing peek at the loves, sexual
histories and marital secrets of . . . these beautiful and
"Endearing . . . A wicked read."
--Los Angeles Times "Humorous and bawdy . . . An amusing portrayal of independent women taking life in stride."
--The Village Voice "Embroideries is as funny, opinionated, controversial and surprising as any good comic or conversation should be."
--Time.com "Subversive . . . Satrapi's book is a mocking rebuke to the cult of chastity, and a statement about the way human passions find their way around the most determined repression."
--Salon "By turns bawdy and heartbreaking . . . Of all Satrapi's books, Embroideries most effectively tears down the divide between Iranian and American culture, showing how women everywhere are similar."
--The Capital Times (Madison)
This slight follow-up to Satrapi's acclaimed Persepolis books explores the lives of Iranian women young and old. The book begins with Satrapi arriving for afternoon tea at her grandmother's house. There, her mother, aunt and their group of friends tell stories about their lives as women, and, more specifically, the men they've lived with and through. One woman tells a story about advising a friend on how to fake her virginity, a scheme that goes comically wrong. Another tells of escaping her life as a teenage bride of an army general. Satrapi's mother tells an anecdote of the author as a child; still others spin yarns of their sometimes glamorous, sometimes difficult, lives in Iran. The tales themselves are entertaining, though the folksiness and common themes of regret and elation feel familiar. Satrapi's artwork does nothing to elevate her source material; her straightforward b&w drawings simply illustrate the stories, rather than elucidating or adding meaning to them. Characters are hard to distinguish from each other, and Satrapi's depictions of gestures and expressions are severely limited, hampering any attempt at emotional resonance. This work, while charming at times, feels like an afterthought compared to Satrapi's more distinguished work on Persepolis and its sequel. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.