Review: Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

Embroideries

Marjane Satrapi

Translated from the French by Anjali Singh

144 pages

2005

Pantheon Books

Source: Library copy

I love Marjane Satrapi’s work. Her first book, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is a masterpiece.  Whether she’s talking about her childhood or about an uncle who was determined to die after the loss of a beloved instrument (Chicken with Plums), Satrapi’s subject matter is always one that really doesn’t disappoint. In Embroideries, the author writes about the lives of women, their thoughts, and dreams.

It’s only after an afternoon meal and once the men go off for their naps, that the women of Satrapi’s family along with various neighbors get together to talk. Gossip about other neighbors and friends is mixed in with tears and laughter as the women discuss arranged marriages versus marriages of love, the cultural pressure that’s placed on a woman to stay a virgin until marriage, and more.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

This is a book of woman’s stories. It’s not a book about war or death. It’s not about living in a conservation society or oppression. It’s more than that. This book is about the everyday lives of women and how they navigate around the things that happen to them. Satrapi’s grandmother was married three times, a cousin was married off to an elderly general at the age of thirteen while a neighbor’s husband ran off with their wedding gifts right after they were married. These stories aren’t any less important than the stories that we consider to be the stories of men who set off to change the world and such.

The author really knows what she’s doing because the close atmosphere that, as a reader, I felt as I read about these women’s lives.  I didn’t feel like a reader but like someone who was sitting in the same room as the characters and listening to all the stories. This is a book that deserves a place in my permanent library collection.

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19 thoughts on “Review: Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

  1. Satrapi was the first author that wrote graphic novels that I bought and read… So, it is really thanks to her that I started paying more attention to graphic novels.

  2. I just loved this book too! It was hilarious and yet so informative. I loved how Marjane showed the lives of the different women – how they also have dreams and wishes like anyone, and yet their society draws a boundary around them.

  3. I loved this book. I was so fond of the fact that it really universalizes women’s experiences. Good, good stuff. I have to say, the only one of her works that I haven’t really been able to get into was Chicken with Plums. The rest: awesome!

  4. So glad you liked this one Natasha! I’ve had it on my radar but like you I think I want to own a copy rather than just have a library version for a short time and my bookstore doesn’t carry it. Guess I could order online…and add a few more books for free shipping? ;)

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