Title: Embroideries
Written by: Marjane Satrapi

144 pages
Publication Date:
April 2006
Published by:
Pantheon Books
Author website

A long time ago, back when my reading twin Andi of Tripping Toward Lucidity was pestering me to try graphic novels, I added Persepolis to my list.  It was the second graphic novel I ever read and it was among the first of many.  I would say that my enjoyment of Persepolis and it’s sequel, Persepolis 2, have a lot to do with my I persisted in reading graphic novels and continue to enjoy them to this day.  Marjane Satrapi is a fantastic illustrator and and even better writer, so I was so happy when I spotted Embroideries on the library shelf.

Embroideries is similar to Persepolis in that it continues the story of Marjane’s look at the lives of Iranian women, specifically her family.  It is dissimilar in that it is not laid out like a comic.  It’s more of a story with pictures – if that makes any sense.  Embroideries gathers together familiar characters; Marjane’s grandmother, her reserved mother, her glamorous aunt, and neighbors and friends for an afternoon of tea and gossip.  The talks turns to familiar Satrapi tropes; love, sex and men.

Secrets are shared, scandals discussed, regrets are aired and their outrageous stories bring laughter and tears.  Among the subjects discussed are how to fake your virginity, the miracles of plastic surgery, the joys of being a mistress instead of a wife, and how to escape arranged marriages.  Watching these women sitting around, drinking their tea, and sharing their lives made me feel so at home with them.  It was like sitting with your best friends and trying to out-shock each other but also a glimpse into another culture, another life, so familiar and so unfamiliar from my own.  Satrapi does a lot to bridge the gap between her reader and her family and her culture, helping us to understand their ways, their loves, and their lives.  Highly recommend, but do read Persepolis 1 and 2 first.

Also by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis| Persepolis 2 | Chicken With Plums | Monsters are Afraid of the Moon

Also reviewed by

The Written World | Tripping Toward Lucidity | Valentina’s Room |
Lotus Reads
| things mean a lot | American Bibliophile |

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5 thoughts on “Embroideries

  1. I'm really glad you liked this one. Her relatives cracked me up with all their stories. Reminded me a bit of sitting around with my grandmother and her sisters when I was growing up. 🙂

  2. I read this just recently and really enjoyed it (and yes, I'd read Persepolis 1 & 2 awhile back). The informal style let me feel like this was just a big real-life conversation (and I suspect it was). It reminded me of me and my cousins hanging out and telling stories. 🙂

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