Friday, September 15, 2006

In Stitches

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

I have to admit my shame at not having read Persepolis. I really want to but I also want to own the damn thing and can’t afford it at the moment so I haven’t reserved it at the library simply to read it. But Embroideries I had no problem checking out. I figured it would give me a sense of her style and esthetic. I have to say I’m glad I didn’t purchase this collection. I wouldn’t stop anyone from doing so, I do think you will get your monies worth and it is great material to go back to for inspiration. If you’re judging worth by how long it takes you to read it, then this is a lot of money for a relatively quick read.

That being said the time you spend with these characters is defiantly time well spend and highly enjoyable. I did have the feeling that this was essentially a one act play or a scene in a larger text. Actually I think that is a great approach to this text. Think of it as a one act play and you won’t be disappointed at all. It’s about women, friends and relatives who get together and discuss their love lives and the general hypocrisy of the men in their lives. There is a plethora of wonderful and highly entertaining women here. From the free living free loving artist Aunt to the slightly rebellious grandmother (I think, I returned the dang book before double checking) and the heartbroken neighbour. It was fascinating for someone like me who has no connection whatsoever to Muslim women or much of Muslim culture in general.

I believe a lot of the Western audience will be fascinated by this take on what appears to us as a mystery. We wonder how women can function in what we perceive as a repressive society and what we’re given here is something that dispels a few of our own myths and confirms others. I find it hard to relate to things when I can’t interpret it through my own reader’s lens of experience. So while I can’t relate on some levels on others I definitely can. We’re shown love stories that are really universal and that are essentially timeless.

I loved hanging out with these women. I felt like I shared in their collective tragedies and joys. This is a very heart warming book in many ways with a visual layout akin to Eisner's The Plot. Free form borderless settings with disembodied heads and characters. It helps reflect their relationship to one another as being primary over their relationship to the outside world.

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