Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

by Marjane Satrapi


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In Persepolis, heralded by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day,” Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending memoir-in-comic-strips about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging.

Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.

As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up—here compounded by Marjane’s status as an outsider both abroad and at home—it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375714665
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/02/2005
Series: Persepolis
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 61,576
Product dimensions: 6.04(w) x 8.87(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

MARJANE SATRAPI was born in Rasht, Iran. She now lives in Paris, where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is the author of Persepolis, Persepolis 2, Embroideries, Chicken with Plums, and several children's books. She cowrote and codirected the animated feature film version of Persepolis, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Her  most recent film was a live-action version of Chicken with Plums.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Wildly charming . . . Like a letter from a friend, in this case a wonderful friend: honest, strong-willed, funny, tender, impulsive, and self-aware."
—Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review

"The most original coming-of-age story from the Middle East yet."

"Elegant, simple panels tell this story of growth, loneliness, and homecoming with poignant charm and wit."
The Washington Post

"Humorous and heartbreaking . . . A welcome look beind the headlines and into the heart and mind of one very wise, wicked, and winning young woman."

"Scary, moving, and etched out with a simplicity that speaks volumes. The arist is less a talent than a force."
The Austin Chronicle

"Irresistible . . . Satrapi's story is too important—and too fascinating—to let go of."
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Powerful . . . A great, engaging tale . . . As deeply satisfying as a good, old-fashioned prose novel and as visually delightful as old picture books from childhood."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Every revolution needs a chronicler like Satrapi."
San Francisco Chronicle

"It is our good fortune that Satrapi has never stopped visiting Iran in her mind."

"Persepolis 2 is much more than the chronicle of a young woman’s struggle into adulthood; it’s a brilliant, painful, rendering of the contrast between East and West, between the repression of wartime Iran and the social, political, and sexual freedoms of 1980’s Austria. There’s something universal about Satrapi’s search for self-definition, but her experiences in Vienna and Tehran are rendered with such witty particularity, and such heartbreaking honesty, that by the end of this book you’ll feel you’ve gained an intimate friend."
—Julie Orringer, author of How To Breathe Underwater

"Marjane Satrapi's books are a revelation. They're funny, they're sad, they're hugely readable. Most importantly, they remind you that the media sometimes tell you the facts but rarely tell you the truth. In one afternoon Persepolis will teach you more about Iran, about being an outsider, about being human, than you could learn from a thousand hours of television documentaries and newspaper articles. And you will remember it for a very long time."
—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Reading Group Guide

The questions and discussion topics that follow are designed to enhance your group’s reading of Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis 2 begins where Persepolis ends, with Marjane leaving Iran and arriving in Austria to attend high school and live with family friends. After four years filled with loneliness, confusion and prejudice, Marjane returns to her parents in Iran. We observe her difficult homecoming and the life she manages to carve out for herself–friends, university, romance–before the repression and the relentless, state-sanctioned chauvinism force her to face whether she can have a future in her homeland. Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant, Persepolis 2 follows the life of Marjane and her country.

1. Compare Persepolis 2 to other stories of the immigrant experience you’ve read (perhaps The House on Mango Street, The House of Sand and Fog, The Joy Luck Club) or to what you imagine emigrating to a new country to be like. What are the basic difficulties shared by immigrants? What does one gain and lose by leaving one’s country and adopting a new one? How does one calculate/weigh the gains and losses? Why does Marjane leave Iran, return, and then leave again? Will she always be “a Westerner in Iran, an Iranian in the West”?

2. How do you think Marjane’s experience would have been similar or different if she had gone to a high school in the United States, in your hometown? Would you have befriended her?

3. Why is adolescence an especially difficult time to move to a new country? Or even to a new city? What is universal about Marjane’s high school experience? What is unusual about her situation? Compare/contrast her high school experience to your own.

4. How is Persepolis 2 particular to its time? How does the cultural and political atmosphere of the 1980s affect Marjane? What trends (in attitude, dress) does Marjane refer to and adopt in Austria that are specific to the 1980s? What does the book teach you about that time? What were you doing in the 1980s?

5. What are the similarities and differences between the little girl in Persepolis and the more mature Marjane in Persepolis 2? How has she changed? In what ways have her experiences affected her personality? And how has her personality affected her experiences?

6. What does Marjane learn from her experiences with drugs, homelessness, depression, and a suicide attempt? How did she slip into those periods? What external and internal forces brought her to take to living on the streets? How does she overcome these obstacles and transform herself into a stronger woman?

7. How is this story different in comic strip form than if it were a straight prose memoir? What do the black and white images add to the narrative? What has Satrapi emphasized and what has she overlooked by telling her story in a non-traditional manner?

8. How is Marjane’s political sense/being formed? Which experiences and people most influence her and pique her interest in politics?

9. Persepolis, the first volume, received much praise and sold well across the United States. How do you explain its appeal? Why is a book about growing up in Iran succeeding in the United States at this time? What drew you to this book? What have you learned about Iran? How is Iran’s recent history inextricably entwined with Marjane’s story?

10. What have you learned about university life in Tehran? Describe how the authorities enforce the separation of the sexes, and how the students circumvent these rules. If you’ve read Reading Lolita in Tehran, compare the life of those women with that of Marjane and her friends.

11. In the beginning of Persepolis 2, Marjane wants to become “a liberated and emancipated woman.” By the end, do you think she achieves this goal? In what ways is this story a typical coming-of-age tale filled with obstacles that the protagonist must overcome on her journey to adulthood? How is this similar or different to coming-of-age stories that you’ve read?

12. Persepolis 2 is filled with vibrant secondary characters. Describe some of them. Describe the men in Marjane’s life and her relationships with them. Who stands out as the most memorable and influential person on Marjane?

13. Why does Marjane frame an innocent man while waiting for her boyfriend one afternoon? How is she betraying her family as well as the man himself? How does she redeem herself in her grandmother’s eyes? While in Austria, Marjane tries to assimilate and denies being Iranian, “betraying my parents and my origins”? How and why does she betray them? What are the consequences of this? Do you think her betrayals are justified?

14. How do tradition, family, duty, opportunity and memory each play a role in determining whether Marjane returns to Europe or not by the end of the book? Why do Marjane’s parents encourage her to leave both times, as a 14-year-old and as a 22-year-old, though they remain in Iran?

15. Despite being forced to wear the veil in Iran and hating it, Satrapi recently wrote an article in The Guardian (UK) newspaper against banning the veil in French schools and stating that forcing girls not to wear the veil is as bad as forcing them to do so. Do you agree with her stance? Describe the role of the veil in Persepolis 2. What is its religious and social purpose? How do the women deal with wearing the veil?

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Persepolis 2 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
lindenstein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first experience with Satrapi's work, this book compelled me to read the first volume and then return to the second to get the whole story in its correct order. Where the first Persepolis is the story of a childhood, this volume is more personal, and is more of a coming-of-age story. I think that the two volumes do a wonderful job of complementing each other, and would definitely recommend that a person read both of the stories, as they give a complete picture of the effects that the events of the first book had on the life of the protagonist, who in the second book leaves her homeland for safety, and is forced to grow up very quickly, without her family. The imagery of the graphic novel does not detract from the story, but contrasts the "gray zone" of trying to navigate adolescence, a changing world and the desire to return home with the stark black-and-white nature of the illustrations.
cestovatela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second volume of Persepolis doesn't shine quite as brightly as its predecessor, but it's still an enjoyable read. It picks up where the first book left off, literally days after teenage Marjane is sent alone to Austria to escape Iran's fundamentalist government. There, she struggles to find a stable home, fit in, and process her memories of war and repression. Not surprisingly, these are serious challenges for a fourteen-year-old girl, and she meets a slew of undesirable friends and takes a lot of drugs. This is the weakest part of the book, in my opinion. The first chapter drops us straight into the action without establishing a firm emotional hold, and much of the narration feels mechanical and disjointed, like Satrapi scribbled it in a daze without considering which events were most important or how to relate them affectingly.The second half of the book, which focuses on her return to Iran, is much stronger. I admired Marjane's strength and fearlessness in confronting the religious radicals, both male and female, who attempted to oppress her. Equally impressive is her honest rendering of Iranian society. She unflinchingly recounts the time her own fear of being arrested led her to turn in an innocent man, and she also describes the few "truly religious men" who made her admission to university possible. I wished the ending of the book hadn't come quite so abruptly, but I related to the confusion of Marjane's twenties, and I felt emotionally satisfied by the story she told. Even if it wasn't as amazing as the first book, I am still glad that I read it.
mandochild on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Malcolm bought me the box-set containing Persepolis and Persepolis 2 I was delighted, especially as I didn't know the second volume existed. But it wasn't until I started reading the second book that I remembered just how good the first one really was. I love the way the words and pictures mesh so seemlessly into complex story, with no sense that "graphic novel" is any less rich or absorbing than a book made only of words. It is an absolute thrill to read pictures and words together in this way and to gain so much from them - I only hope that there are more such great works out there. I was also fascinated by just how much study goes into art - not just the technical skill, but real, academic research. I was fascinated by the development of Marjane as a scholar.Strangely, I was offended to a certain degree by the use of coarse language and some of the more graphic detail. I loved the honesty but found that the language jarred at times. I am always frustrated and jarred by such language, but I wonder if it is somehow "worse" when it clashes with the memories I have of friends, whose language was always so beautiful? Funny if I'm falling into the trap of wanting to label people according to their heritage. Or not so funny.I must explore Satrapi's other works and also find evidence of more such wonderful graphic novels.
eduscapes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second in a two-part series, Persepolis 2 begins in Austria. It's 1984 and Marjane finds that life in secular Europe is not as wonderful as she had hoped. We follow Marjane through high school and college as she grows into a young adult. While dealing with many of the same themes as Persepolis, Satrapi's second book is much darker and cynical than the first. Through simple black and white illustrations, she relates the repression and chauvinism of life in Iran as well as her journey to find her place in the world. Persepolis is a wonderful example of the best in graphic memoir.
the_awesome_opossum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just as Persepolis was set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution, Persepolis II follows Marjane into the Iran-Iraq War. Kind of. She's in Europe for a lot of it, and a good amount of the book is about her experiences with family and friends and relationships and less about politics. But the fundamentalist government lurks in the background and affects even the most minute aspects of Marjane's life - for example, a life drawing class is more or less useless when everyone has to cover every inch of skin. She reflects that these strict prohibitions are only distractions; if women walk outside every day wondering whether their pants are long enough, they then wouldn't be wondering where their freedom of thought and speech went.Persepolis is an interesting coming of age story, and a critical but thoughtful look at recent Iranian history
anyanwubutler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic memoir follows Satrapi¿s four years as an adolescent in Austria, and the six years following that back in Iran to her eventual permanent exile to France, from 1984-1994. In Austria she is sent to live at a convent school, and again, runs afoul of the nuns. As a teenager in exile on her own, she doesn¿t know how to fit in. Austrian teens and adults can¿t imagine her experiences in Iran. When she goes back to Iran, they can¿t imagine her life in Austria, nor can she imagine theirs in Iran. Eventually, she goes to art school, in her life drawing class, she draws a woman who is entirely shrouded; they learn to draw drapes. ¿The regime understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself: Are my trousers long enough? Is my veil in place? Can my makeup be seen? Are they going to whip me? No longer asks herself: Where is my freedom of thought? Where is my freedom of speech? My life, is it livable? What¿s going on in the political prisons?¿ Apparently, there is a third of these, at least in French, I hope it gets translated soon. I also will try to get the movie based on these books by Satrapi.
DoraBadollet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A continuation of the story of a young Iranian girl struggling with her Iranian identity and the fundamentalist regime in 1970s and 1980s Iran. The illustrations grip the reader in the same vein as those of Art Spielgelman. Excellent story. (cw)
BookinKim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this sequel, Marjane lets readers back into her life in order to share the next portion of it. After conditions in Iran worsen, she moves to Austria. Follow Marjane's adventure as she adjusts to living abroad, crazy roommates, addictions, and not having a home. Will Marjane find a place to live in Austria? Or will she have to return home to Iran?
shawnr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second volume of Satrapi¿s Persepolis series, and it spends the bulk of time telling the story of her time spent in an Austrian high school. Marjane¿s parents send her abroad to escape the war in Iran, but her time in Europe is a special kind of exile. Satrapi¿s art is similarly good in this volume. The clean lines illustrate the story clearly and compliments the prose. It¿s especially interesting to read her thoughts on her fellow students¿ reactions to her. Being Iranian in western culture remains a social stigma, and Satrapi illustrates the painfulness of this stigmatization remarkably well. Satrapi deserves her place alongside other notable historical comic artists including Joe Sacco and Art Spiegleman. Persepolis should be on your reading list.
seph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book before bed one evening and quickly swept through a third of it before I realized I really ought to get some sleep. I finished it the next day. It's a quick and very enjoyable read. This second part of Satrapi's memoir deals with her teen and early adult years. I still enjoyed her perspective as an Iranian, but I found her perspective as a young adult even more compelling. It makes the world seem all the smaller to know that people from all nations all go through some of the same growth and personal development experiences. This is a charming memoir by a charming and intelligent woman.
duck2ducks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even better than the first. Not sure if it's because Marjane's storytelling abilities had evolved so much more by this point, or because this volume - covering her teenage years and early adulthood - simply appealed to me more in terms of the personal discoveries involved. In any case, she's fantastic, and hers is an eye-opening and inspiring story.
wouterzzzzz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Still a strong novel, although slightly less than the first Persepolis.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the first Persepolis in an effort to overcome my dislike of graphic novels. And although my opinion of the genre didn't change, I decided to go ahead and read the second of these memoirs (mostly because I already had it waiting for me in the house). It also didn't change my opinion of graphic memoirs. I think I'm just not destined to like them much. It's not a snobbery thing. I appreciate how difficult it is to be succinct, draw aesthetically pleasing pictures, and manage to marry the two in such a way that they tell a complex and nuanced story. I just don't enjoy the result. A personal failing perhaps, but there you have it.Persepolis 2 tells Satrapi's story from her early teens when she left a war torn Iran for Austria, through her unsettled and rootless life in Vienna as she faced culture shock, experienced racism, and rebelled against so much, to her eventual return to Iran and her family, her education once home, her marriage, and her eventual decision to leave Iran forever. As in the first book, the heavy, dark illustrations underline the bleakness of Satrapi's experiences. She endured much at an age long before anyone should be asked to shoulder such responsibility and the unsophisticated, simple artwork conveys that.Her tale is a wrenching one but for me, the drawings detract from the sympathy I should have been feeling. And I couldn't shake the feeling that there was much left out, especially anything positive, at least in part because of the constraints of graphic novels. Overall, everything about the story felt detached to me. I know that both Persepolis and Persepolis 2 have earned much acclaim but they just didn't move me. Whether I would have appreciated the story told in a more traditional novel format I can't say, but I definitely think that graphic novels are not for me.
questbird on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Marjane Satrapi records the story of her adolescence. In many ways, this is a universal coming-of-age story, with its depictions of alienation, angst, depression and experimentation. The main character feels isolated by her Iranian upbringing when living in Austria, and once more an outsider when she returns to Iran. Two things make this book less compelling than the first. The Iranian experiences are much less prominent (partially because a lot of the time is spent away from Iran). The heroine's feistiness and rebellious nature are supressed by self-doubt, and she does some questionable things which makes her a bit more unlikeable (particularly getting an innocent Iranian man arrested in her stead). A good read but not as good as Persepolis.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel has been on my TBR list for far too long. I finally had a chance to read it and I was not disappointed. The first book covers the author¿s childhood in war-torn Iran, while the second deals with her teenage and adult years. At the end of the first book, Satrapi is sent to live in Austria without her parents. Thus begins her assimilation to western culture. When she eventually returns to Iran, this creates a dichotomy in her personality. She never felt truly at home in Austria, but when she¿s back in Iran, she realizes she doesn¿t quite belong there either. The second book loses a bit of the magic of the first, just as growing up in the real world always does. Instead of an innocent child¿s view of a violence and oppression, we have a young woman trying to figure out who she is all while being influenced by both western and eastern cultures. It¿s more a coming of age tale than the first book. ¿When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us.¿
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The continuation of Satrapi's story through her early adult years. The themes and ideas that were initiated in the first graphic novel continue to be unraveled here, and my reaction to this story was in line with my earlier response: admiration and surprise as my eyes were opened to a part of our world I had never really considered before. Once again, I just love her drawing style, and find that the comic images contrast in an intentionally ironic way with content matter. My only disappointment was that this story is after Satrapi has already become older, so we don't get any more images of her delightful childhood and the fiery little girl that she was. That's not a criticism of the book, of course, because this is a biography, and she is older now, naturally. I just really liked her depiction of herself as a girl. Overall, a fantastic story, a real stand out in the graphic novels department. Highly worth reading.
bderby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this second volume, Marjane Satrapi depicts her teenage and adult years both away from and returning to Iran. The story of surviving in a new country will, no doubt, be familiar to teens who are simply attempting to survive and fit-in in high-school. Satrapi tells of the struggles she went through, including the brief time she spent living on the street.
jovilla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel is the continuation of the autobiography of a young girl growing up in revolutionary Iran, a repressive society, and how she copes with her situation. It is well done.
Tpoi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Satrapi writes and depicts in a vein somewhat similar to that found in Maus (which is bloody brilliant), at least the closest thing I can think of. Very clever and honest; touching but not sentimental. Unlike Maus, there is not a mixed chronological and mixed realistic/fable conception, but a rather more concrete and linear deptiction of coming to age both internationally (under the Shah, in worldy Europe (Austria) and then in the Islamic Republic of Iran) and inter-generationally.
ydraughon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second part to her comic-strip memior, Satrapi tells of her after the reveloution. Her parents are concerned about the new Islamic government so they have sent her to Austria to live and continue her education. In this book she continues her outspoken political views, experiments with sexual freedom and drugs, returns home marries and divorces. Teens can relate to this book about alienation and misunderstanding. I thought that the first book was better. It could also be used more in classroom settings. This book I don't that I would use it in the classroom.
PennsaukenLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up ¿ here compounded by Marjane's status as an outsider both abroad and at home ¿ it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Persepolis 2 continues the story of Persepolis. In this volume, Marjane is a teenager going to school in Austria. The trials and tribulations of teenager-dom are hard enough for anyone, but Marjane is far from her family, doesn't speak the language, and doesn't really fit in with the few friends she has. After graduation, she returns to Iran, but she has to face not only the changes the intervening years have wrought upon her home, but also the fact that she is now considered "too Western" to fit in there, either.Review: I enjoyed Persepolis 2 just as much as, if not slightly more than, I did Persepolis. While both volumes are a definitely blend of the personal and the political, and deal with the intersection of the two, I thought the first volume was a little more on the political side of things, while this one felt more personal. While that makes the first one carry a little more clout and importance, it also makes the second one more immediately relatable. I mean, I've never lived through a bombing (thank god!), but I certainly did spend part of my teen years feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere. There's nothing to say which of the two approaches makes for a better book - they're just two different books, with different points and different themes (although clearly with the same sensibility.) I think I got more emotionally involved with the second volume, but they're both definitely worth reading. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: Don't read them out of order, but I definitely recommend both of them.
stephmo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This continues Marjane's story from the original Persepolis immediately. She is in Austria, save from the war at home, far away from the love and security of family. While in Europe, we experience the Westernization of Marjane which comes both with advantage in intellectual and emotional pursuits. Unfortunately, these pursuits do not come without an overindulgent side. For as much as Marjane is able to flourish in Europe, there comes a point where it nearly swallows her whole and her return to Iran is preferable.Marjane's return becomes the second half of the book. Unlike the prior book, this is no longer a cute girl rebelling against the scarf. This is a rebellion with severe stakes. Still, this is a story of a woman learning to remain true to herself while laying out the mistakes that she makes for examination. It's moving, angering and even funny.
Ayling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this, but it isn't as good as the first book.Persepolis 2 starts directly after the first book and tells the story of how Marjane growing up as a teenager and a young woman, trying to find where her identity lay.She's an incredibly interesting sounding person, although I wonder what she's really like, outside of black and white pictures of her graphic novel?The first one was more humorous and the second more interesting. It is very interesting to see what lies beneath the veil, the hidden rebellion and individuals that perhaps we are not aware of in the western world.A worthwhile read but it didn't really grip me - but that might have been my current mood as I read it in between a lot of other books. Well written/drawn and a very personal, honest account of her life.
dr_zirk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While not quite as enjoyable as the first volume, Persepolis 2 is still a worthwhile read, since it profiles the author's moves back and forth between life in fundamentalist Iran and a more liberated, if equally frustrating, life in Western Europe. Satrapi isn't afraid to reveal her own shortcomings, including her occasional awful behavior towards other people. For me, this is what makes this volume less satisfying than the first - in this second installment, we meet a more mature and rounded narrator (the author), but we also get to know more of her flaws, and discover that she is a less likable person than the child of the first book. Nonetheless, Persepolis 2 is an engaging read, and a nice capstone to Satrapi's story.