Adult Award-Winning Books graphic novel International Middle Eastern Literature Reading Themes

The Samovar Delights of Iranian Women in Marjane Satrapi’s “Embroideries”

Myra here.

Last week, I shared Marjane Satrapi’s middle grade graphic novel The Sigh. This week, I have her decidedly-adult graphic novel that talks fearlessly of women’s delights, struggles, narratives – all told in confidence with a “noon and night samovar” – a piping-hot cup of tea exquisitely shared among a close-knit community of women.


Written and Illustrated byMarjane Satrapi Translation by: Anjali Singh
Published by: Pantheon Books, 2005. ISBN: 0375714677 (ISBN13: 9780375714672) Literary Award: Urhunden Prize for Foreign Album (2007)
Borrowed through inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me. 

If you missed Marjane’s grandmother from Persepolis, you would see more of her in this graphic novel of Iranian women, gathered around a cup of milk tea, leading an irreverent discussion about life, love, women’s delights, and a heartfelt discussion about other women and their concerns because as Grandmother aptly stated: “To speak behind others’ backs is the ventilator of the heart.”

This is a laugh-out-loud, highly-intimate kind of read. It’s as if I was eavesdropping on a group of women from another part of the world, with their own distinct concerns, yet also very similar to mine. Women’s struggles and issues, I am beginning to realize, are largely universal – regardless of where one is in the world.

I enjoyed how amazingly diverse the characters of Marjane’s family is – there is a married aunt with children who has not even seen her husband’s private parts (read: penis), another relative who has to cope with a husband’s shameless dalliances, female friends who had to fake their virginity during the wedding night, and the many joys of being a mistress versus being a wife.

This is a very quick enjoyable read that served to educate me on the wonders of “embroideries” – something I did not know before, but now I consider myself “schooled” thanks to Marjane Satrapi.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “The Samovar Delights of Iranian Women in Marjane Satrapi’s “Embroideries”

  1. That is such a fun book!


  2. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] Favourite Titles Across GatheringBooks’ 2017 Reading Themes – Gathering Books

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