Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Embroideries - Marjane Satrapi

...and in this way we began a long session of ventilation of the heart...

This one the most entertaining read I've read recently. It was the perfect Read-a-thon choice. Short, smart and absolutely hilarious. If you loved Persepolis, like I did, you don't want to miss this little gem. If you still don't know Marjane Satrapi's work, this is a fast and delightful way to realise what you've missing out all this time.

What do women talk while drinking tea, away from men's ears? Sex, of course! And marriage, men, plastic surgeries...the usual. Only, these are Iranian women, living in a patriarchal society where they have half of the rights of their male partners, so what's usual becomes outrageous!
I'm in awe of Satrapi's gift for irony and subversiveness. Even the sole idea that, behind doors, women talk about these themes, is refreshing. But she just adds that magic touch of lightness and humour that makes it completely irresistible.
Of course, though, being Iranian, the secrets they share are part of a culture that we only know from the media, and from what we read on books (if we do at all). This is a rare opportunity to have a sneak peek at their private lives and thoughts. It's addictive! I wish there were a whole series of these books:D
It was also really interesting to know what is the image that they have of the western culture. For example, when talking about virginity, Marjane's aunt, a free-thinking, divorced artist, declares:

...Why don't we behave as westerns do!? For them, since the problem of sex is resolved, they can move on to other things!

Ha!
I wish. I mean, I see her point, but the "problem" is far from resolved. Especially when you look at the new wave of conservatism which encourages boys and girls to join pledges not to lose their virginity till marriage and advocates abstinence for adolescents as the solution for every problem. I find this very scary, considering it's coming from the so called liberated western society.
But aaaaanyway. I recommend this book wholeheartedly. It's clever, bold, and definitely too damn short!

need more encouragements?
read these:
Tripping Toward Lucidity
American Bibliophile
Things mean a lot
Biblio File
Books of Mee


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6 comments:

Amanda said...

I loved Persepolis 1 & 2, and this sounds great. I wonder how similar their conversations will be to the women's conversations I was part of in Palestine. It'll be fun to read. :)

Chris said...

Oh, I want to read this one so badly. I fell in love with Persepolis...it was just perfect. I've been wanting to get to this one...great review as always Valentina :)

Nymeth said...

I knew you'd appreciate this one :D I loved your "rant", btw. The problem of sex, and especially of female sexuality, is most definitely NOT resolved.

Karen said...

I have just started Persepolis and am really enjoying the story telling style so I am sure I would enjoy this one too. I will have to keep an eye out for it.

Trish said...

Sigh. Yup, I think we have a long way to go before problems with sex is resolved. The virginity pacts have been in the news a lot here and it is interesting (to say the very least). I really want to read this one--so glad you liked it so much. I loved Persepolis and excited to read more by Satrapi.

valentina said...

Amanda, you were in Palestine talking to the women there? wow! I'd love to know more about your experience:D

Thanks Chris! If you loved Persepolis this is a must read, although you'll always crave a bit more. It's like a little Satrapi's snack :P

Nymeth, I'm glad you agree with me on that! sometimes it's so discouraging thinking we've come so far and yet people still think like 2000 years ago.

Karen, I sort of envy you for reading Persepolis for the first time:) It was so satisfying for me!

Trish, those virginity pacts make me so angry!! I know there's worse things in the world, but this is just pointless, I think, and obtuse too. I'd better stop here, I don't want to start ranting again!
I'm exctited to read more Satrapi too, I think "chicken with plums" should be next.