Tonight I tried reading my first graphic novel, Persepholis by Marjane Satrapi. It was not a success.
I had wanted to read this account of the Iranian Revolution and its aftermath since it was recommended by Tony in the commentary that arose after I read The House of the Mosque. The book – which is really Books I & II in one volume – tells the story of Satrapi’s family in the last days of the Shah and the ensuing repression under the fundamentalist Iranian regime. It’s interesting because it recounts the fervour with which the Shah was despatched, the subsequent disenchantment and the eventual horror that intellectuals and liberals felt when dissidents were tortured and killed in the name of Islam.
The problem for me was the format. The copy I borrowed from the library was the usual paperback size, with three rows of cartoons per page. The print was so small that I could not read it with my reading glasses. I had to resurrect some magnifying spectacles that I used to use for fine embroidery and use a magnifying glass as well. I persisted till I reached the end of Book I, and then gave up.
I love reading, but not enough to give myself a nasty headache.
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Publisher: Vintage 2008
Source: Kingston Library