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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God, country and family.
Almost a generation after Art Spiegelman's Maus showed comic books can pack more punch than words alone. Persepolis is the closest thing from you'll ever see from Maus. Both are amazing literary works portraying extraordinary real lives witnessing history unfold. Both done by chain-smokers.

At the end of the first Persepolis I cried. I can't remember a regular...
Published on September 7, 2004 by Harry Pujols

versus
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read, but Less Charming Than the First Persepolis
DON'T READ THIS BOOK (Story of a Return) UNLESS YOU'VE ALREADY READ THE FIRST PERSEPOLIS (Story of a Childhood). It's important to bond with the child Marjane and to understand where the characters are coming from before heading into this book. Also, the first one is essentially perfect, which can be said about so few books.

/*SPOILERS BELOW*/

The...
Published on October 4, 2004 by K. Yuen


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God, country and family., September 7, 2004
By 
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
Almost a generation after Art Spiegelman's Maus showed comic books can pack more punch than words alone. Persepolis is the closest thing from you'll ever see from Maus. Both are amazing literary works portraying extraordinary real lives witnessing history unfold. Both done by chain-smokers.

At the end of the first Persepolis I cried. I can't remember a regular book that gave me such emotion before, if ever (I also cried at Maus).

As an immigrant, I identify with Sartrapi more than with any author I've ever read. Maybe because her experiences with loneliness, heartbreak and xenophobia are so vivid they just jump out of the pages.

One thing that's very evident in every page of the book is her immense patriotism. Her country is as part of what she is as much as her family. Thank God for that, because now there's a point of view of Iran little known to Westerners. And it's available in your bookstore. As a comic.

My highest recommendation. Run to get a copy. I hope publishers now realize this art form is here to stay.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic sequel to a modern classic!, September 15, 2004
By 
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
Anyone who has read Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood has undoubtedly looked forward to reading any future material from this talented author/artist. Marjane Satrapi possesses a unique skill of profound biographical storytelling and inventive artwork. In her first graphic novel Satrapi remarkably recounted her childhood of growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. Her liberal middle-class parents helped shape her perceptions of the world and encouraged her to reach her potential regardless of the multiple barriers that limit her everyday choices and actions. It quickly becomes apparent that Marjane is deeply proud of her country but simultaneously saddened by the actions of the fundamentalist Islamic government.

PERSEPOLIS 2: THE STORY OF A RETURN picks off where Persepolis 1 ended. Marjane is sent by her parents to study in Vienna, Austria to escape the bombings and uncertainty of the Iran-Iraq War. As she integrates herself into her new life she experiences a sense of lost identity as she straddles between the West and Iran. Her steadfast pride of being Iranian continues in the face of prejudice and misinformation. Although she has physically grown up her intensity remains.

I was very fortunate to meet Marjane Satrapi at a book reading two nights ago. She is both articulate and compassionate about her life and her perceptions of current geopolitical events. Also, she was very funny and had the audience laughing many times at her varied quirkiness. Her life story is inspirational and sticks with you long after her books are put back on the shelf. Highly recommended!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars portrait of the artist/ portrait of a self, November 26, 2004
By 
Vince Leo (minneapolis, mn USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
the persepolis books (I & II) are more than the life of an iranian girl told in comic form; they're also the story of an artist finding her self in a globalized society. marjane satrapi saw the worst of the islamic revolution as a child, and eventually her parents sent her to convent school in vienna to escape. but from the brittle moralisms of the nuns to the ban on nude models in art classes, marjane makes it more than apparent that the west doles out more than its share of senseless, self-serving rules and regulations.

satrapi wrings every bit of irony, humor, and pathos out the combination of first person narration and graphics. her characterizations are always clear but never cliched and her break-neck narrative style (growing 2 feet in three small frames) depends on both text and graphic for meaning. most importantly we are watching the artist learn how to become an artist, looking at the development not only of a singular spirit but also of a globalized sensibility. satrapi owes as much to iranian storytelling as she does to western graphic art, and it's no surprise that her books (like most comics) are easily translated and easier to digest in translation.

if satrapi's form travels well, her narrative travels even better. frame by frame, page by page, satrapi struggles first to do what she wants and then just to survive. between the crummy boyfriend and the marijuana smoke, the informers and the morality police, a self takes shape. part western teenager, part islamic mystic, satrapi is a true hybrid, something entirely different than her antecedents. her story is not about east or west, north or south, pictures or words, but about integration; the struggle of every young person caught between innnocence and the hate machines we know as political structures. a portrait of the artist without borders, persepolis II is its own war on terror, fought with pen and ink and dedicated to brave hearts and free spirits everywhere.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read, but Less Charming Than the First Persepolis, October 4, 2004
By 
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
DON'T READ THIS BOOK (Story of a Return) UNLESS YOU'VE ALREADY READ THE FIRST PERSEPOLIS (Story of a Childhood). It's important to bond with the child Marjane and to understand where the characters are coming from before heading into this book. Also, the first one is essentially perfect, which can be said about so few books.

/*SPOILERS BELOW*/

The Story of a Return provides insight into modern Iranian culture, the effects of the Iraq-Iran war, and the differences between the West and Iran as Marjane repeatedly integrates herself into an unfamiliar land. (Iran may be home, but it's strange to her when she returns.) We also witness the slurs and descrimination she endures as a Middle Easterner in Europe, and it induces brings a deep sense of horror in the reader on Marjane's behalf.

Some find the second book equal to the first. I disagree. It is no fault of the author's; she applies equal skill and talent to both books. The material is fundamentally different. The Story of a Childhood has a child's and pre-teen's whimsy flowing through it, and the characters are still relatively innocent and opimistic despite the path of the country. In The Story of a Return, the author tries to include some of the imaginings that brought such a charming whimsy to her first memoir, but it is harder with an older main character. The humor has to come from elsewhere, and is therefore harder to find. Her experiences seem harsher to the reader, since she is experiencing them directly, instead of the close calls or indirect experiences of the first Persepolis. And because Marjane is older, we become more judgemental of her mistakes, which also darkens the tone of the book.

Well worth reading, but one feels a sense of loss when comparing it to the first.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest coming-of-age tale of biculturalism..., October 8, 2004
By 
MBoogie (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
I wrote a review for the first Persepolis as well. I enjoyed the second greatly. This is a big statement, being that I was so impressed by the first that I had huge expectations of the 2nd, and could have easily been dissappointed. This book is honest in showing clashes between Eastern and Western cultures and an adolescent's reactions to these clashes. Ms. Satrapi whets the appetite for understanding the different types of Iranians: the traditionalists, the religious, the modern people, those who've returned from expatriation. She touches on the issue of women's role in Iran. As an Iranian, I can vouch for most of Marjane's accounts, as interactions like she's had are not so uncommon. Many Iranians left the country at young ages after the revolution and during the war. Many have seen what Marjane has and it's really the voice of a generation. You may understand your Iranian neighbors better if you read this book. I also know tons of other nationalities and cultures who have similar experiences with their expatriation. Marjane expresses many different aspects of the coming-of-age process in short, concise chapters which manage to keep their wit, charm and creative expression of the first book. Read and enjoy!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Memoir in an Understated Style, August 28, 2005
Marjane Satrapi has an interesting life story to tell, and she does it very well here in the under-appreciated graphic strip format. Satrapi was born to a progressive family in Iran, and when she was a teenager during Iran's Islamic Revolution, her parents sent her off to school in Europe, where there were certainly better life choices for a young woman. Here Satrapi illustrates her travails in Europe as a foreigner from an unpopular country, followed by her return to Iran where she was then treated with suspicion for having too many free thoughts and Western tendencies. Satrapi's, artistic style is simplistic and pretty understated technically, though she is excellent at capturing facial expressions, and her style is perfectly suited for focusing the reader's attention on the story. The narrative here does slip into moping and melodrama in places, though Satrapi's coverage of how a free-thinking young person can be oppressed by culture, religion, war, and prejudice is stirring and evocative. Unlike many memoirs from boring people with typical lives, Satrapi's story is very unique and deserves to be told. [~doomsdayer520~]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection, October 2, 2004
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
In the second installment of Marjane Satrapi's retelling of her coming of age we find our heroine lost in Europe. Confused about who she is and what the world sees her as she falls into a series of misadventures before returning to her home country of Iran. It is a beautifully told story about a girl becoming a woman and coming to terms with her turbulent heritage. There aren't enough awards you could give Satrapi for her brilliant work. She has captured her life story with honesty and amazing talent. Reading her books is a joy and I only hope that she will put out a third volume in the future. I will never tire of hearing her story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second volume slightly better than the first., November 15, 2005
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Pantheon, 2004)

Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis took the world by storm a few years ago, first in its native French, then in English. Of course, since the graphic autobiography ("graphic" in terms of "graphic novel," not as in 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed) stops when Satrapi is fourteen, you know there has to be more.

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return takes us through Satrapi's adolescence-- her years in Europe, then, as the title promises, a return to Iran during her eighteenth year after a cascade of nasty events (some her fault, some not) that leave her homeless and ill.

Where Persepolis is good, its sequel plays on the first book's strengths while more successfully integrating the overarching issues of the never-ending wars in which Iran finds itself. When Satrapi discusses the regime's reasons for using the veils in the book's most important panels, it doesn't seem intrusive at all, despite stopping the action (briefly) and having no use other than imparting sociopolitical values. It's a very rare thing when that works.

Persepolis is good stuff; Persepolis 2 is even better. *** ˝
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebellion, Unveiled, January 14, 2005
This review is from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Hardcover)
Sent to Austria in 1984 at the age of 14, to escape the repression of fundamentalist Islamic revolution in Iran, Marjane Satrapi creates a graphic novella of her misadventures .

The tone of the work in Persepolis 2 is often humorous, but the subject matter is serious. Graphics and text layer the novel with innuendo, understatement, and irony--powerful strategies to enter difficult, confrontational situations.

This interplay between graphics and text blocks also allows the author to explore ways that illusion or dream world differ from external reality. The universal themes of coming-of-age in an imperfect world, or of returning "home" after living away are especially powerful here. The narrator invites the reader to share intimate details of her life as she moves from teenage years of minimal rules and zero supervision back to a society where women are veiled and culture is censored.

Highly recommended--along with volume 1: Persepolis-- for High School reading lists, and for anyone wanting an excellent window into another culture and way of life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very touching, like Maus, August 19, 2005
By 
arzewski (pittsburgh, pa United States) - See all my reviews
I've read Maus, the graphic novel describing the holocaust as experienced by the author's parents, now living in Queens, NY. Reading the two volumes of Persepolis reminded me somewhat of Maus.

There are very touching moments, expressed in minimalistic graphics, and few or no words, that convey so much, about intimate relationships and family life.

In Maus, the single frame of the father taking his son's coat out of the metalwire coat hanger and putting it instead on a wood hanger, and saying that he doesn't put his son's coat on a wire hanger, but deservedly on a wood hanger, was so meaningfull, and beautifully expressed.

In Persepolis, the happy couple that just got news of their successfull admittance to the state university and loking for a place to hug and embrace each other, well, because they are not married, such affection cannot be done in public, thus, without speaking, they jump into a car and drive off, looking for seclusion, and while driving, a hand is on the gear switch handle, and the other person's hand is on top of that hand. No words. Yet, beautifully conveying the message.

And moments of utter sadness and death, so difficult to say, yet they are said, with no dialogue, yet, so effective. The scene of the party, stormed in by the revolutionary guards enforcing the morality code, are chasing a black & white silouette on the rooftops, under a white crescent moon. The silouette is shown to jump from one roof to another. Then it is shown to fall between two buildings. Death of a friend. All said with no words, just a few minimalistic black & white frames of silouettes, building rooftops, a crescent moon.

The author has experienced great contrasts. And the medium she chooses, black and white graphics, is a perfect choice. There are several scenes in which the opposites are placed one next to the other: "the way I am" next to "the way he sees me". Or "the way I wanna be", "the way the morality code wants me to be". At a moment while reading, and thinking about the choice of B&W graphics, I thought it would be brilliant if the author then used the reverse image, as in a photographic negative, to display the sense of absurdity.

I hope the author continues on the genre, possibly visiting the iranian community in the Los Angeles area, or raising kids in France, teaching them Farsi, then visiting Iran regularly with the kids, and documenting how her kids interact with the kids raised in Iran. Those five-year-old kids raised in Tehran will spot that something is wrong with the five-year-old kids raised in Paris: "you speak like an eskimo", possibly noting that the Paris-based kids are speaking Farsi that is not at the eloquent and fluidity of the Tehran-based children.

Looking forward for future installments.
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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi (Hardcover - August 31, 2004)
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