Persepolis is a graphic novel telling the story of the childhood of its author, Marjane Satrapi. Iran was transformed by its revolution of 1979 from a constitutional monarchy to an Islamic republic, enforcing a new culture as well as a new state. Born in 1969, the first volume follows Marjane’s experiences during the Iranian Revolution and the following war with Iran of 1980 through 1988. She captures gracefully the unique perspective of a child struggling to understand the global events unfolding around her.
At the age of 14 after the bombing of an apartment building across the street from her home, she is sent from Iran to study in Vienna, Austria. The second volume picks up here, tracing her education during her time in Vienna. Much of this is spent dealing with the frustrations of finding balance between fitting in as a cultural outsider and retaining her own heritage and identity. Ultimately, she returns home to a country transformed to find out just how much she has changed herself. Persepolis is at times very funny and at times very sad, but remains genuine throughout.