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Julian Meynell's Books

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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return - Marjane Satrapi, Anjali Singh Not in the end as good as the first one, although this is not Satrapi's fault. The first story had more of a narrative arc, whereas the narrative structure of the second is not so satisfying, but because this is autobiography it is hardly a structural defect that could have been corrected. It is interesting that the graphic novel form lends itself so well to autobiography, but it clearly does.

Even though this work is not quite so satisfying it is still well worth reading and the two works together are clearly amongst the greatest of all graphic novels. It is not just a coming of age story, but also a deep work on the clash between Islamic and western cultures, the reality of the Islamic revolution and of oppression and on what it means to be not just in fact but in essence an outsider.

Update: As I get further and further away from the Persepolis books I am slowly coming to realize that they are probably the greatest of the graphic novels that I have read. Previously I would have chosen Watchmen, but there is a subtlety and reality to the observation of her own experience which stays with you. She can in a single panel exactly capture the reality of an experience despite the fact that her art is crude. In fact, this crudity works extremely well at getting to the very heart of things.

I read virtually no memoirs, but this is the best one I've read. I am beginning to wonder, whether Persepolis 2, might not be better than Persepolis 1 despite the criticisms that I make of it above. Close to but not quite a five star book.