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 by: Marjane 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.