4 stars · autobiography

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi



author : marjane satrapi

pages : [paperback] 144

memorable quote To speak behind others’ backs is the ventilator of the heart.

summary :

From the best–selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women.Embroideries gathers together Marjane’s tough–talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men.

As the afternoon progresses, these vibrant women share their secrets, their regrets and their often outrageous stories about, among other things, how to fake one’s virginity, how to escape an arranged marriage, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to delight in being a mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most important, keep up appearances.

Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere—and to teach us all a thing or two

review :

I really enjoyed this short graphic novel. Marjane Satrapi completely captures her reader with her interesting art style as well as her skill for addicting, dramatic gossip. The entire story is just a short scene, a lot of women gathered in a party speaking about the sexual and marital experiences they and the people they know have had. I think most people can relate to the image of a family party when seemingly at random the guests have separated themselves according to gender. This is an interesting study of women, what they feel comfortable discussing with one another, and what happens if a male ‘intruder’ appears on the scene.

It’s particularly interesting to me because the entire premise is wrapped around a culture very different from my own, yet there are aspects of the party that I can personally relate to. The gendered ideas that appear in the narrative are socially constructed in a different country, yet in my own there’s still the idea that men and women are very, stereotypically, different.

Marjane herself doesn’t play too much of a role in this book. Instead she’s a background character, listening to these stories that she’s recorded. I have no idea whether all of these are truthful; I know that Satrapi has written autobiography before but I assume that she couldn’t accurately remember all of the details of this afternoon. It’s interesting to think about the gossip that’s passed among women that is of so much importance, temporarily, and then can be forgotten.

I really enjoyed reading this and it encouraged me to pick up more of Satrapi’s work. She does well in weaving the story and her art together and I can’t recommend this little book enough!

4/5 stars


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