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Last Updated: Friday, 26 November, 2004, 16:27 GMT
Satrapi follows up Iran picture book
Marjane Satrapi
Satrapi now lives permanently in Paris
Iranian author Marjane Satrapi has released a sequel to her unexpected hit book Persepolis - a graphic novel detailing her experience of life as a child during the Iranian Revolution.

Persepolis 2 tells the story of Satrapi's life in exile and her return to Iran after the revolution, all in comic strip form.

The original Persepolis book ended in 1984, when a young Marjane was sent by her parents to live in Austria. It was an unexpected hit.

"I think that the image is an international language - you don't need to know a certain language to understand it," Satrapi told BBC World Service's The Ticket programme.

"If I draw, for example, a sad man, he can be Chinese, Japanese, American, Arab, black - all sad men look the same, the world over.

"Also, whatever I don't write, I draw, and whatever I write, I don't draw. So really, the drawing is part of the narration - it's the language itself."

Being an outsider

Satrapi explained that the basic style of her drawing was deliberate, in order to focus the reader's mind on the story.

"My story was extremely complicated - it had a lot of words, it was very hard to say," she said.

"If I added to the drawings, with creation and perspective, your eyes would be on the picture for a longer time, and that breaks the rhythm of reading - so I went towards a very simple drawing."

The theme of both Persepolis books is the feeling of being an outsider.

Iranian hardliners celebrate the return of Ayatollah Khomeini from exile after the Revolution in 1979
In Iran, they can arrest me, beat me or even hang me
Marjane Satrapi
In the first book, this was centred on Satrapi's experiences of being an Iranian during a revolution that she only half understands, before leaving for Austria. Persepolis 2, however, looks at her story as she after she returns to Iran.

Satrapi said she "always felt I was I was on the margin of everything," because of her ideas.

"If we hadn't put Point Zero at Greenwich, maybe we could be the West and you could be the East - the world is round, and I don't know what this division between East and West is. You are always to the East of someone.

"But the thing is that everywhere I go in the world... I try to be a free thinker.

"From the second that you try to think freely for yourself, you're always at the margin of everywhere."

Persepolis 2 ends on a sad note, with an examination of the price that freedom exacts.

The ending is in Paris, where Satrapi remains to this day.

She stressed, however, that she was much more comfortable expressing her ideas in Paris than Iran, where her book is only circulated "under the table".

"In Iran, they can arrest me, beat me or even hang me," she said.

"In Paris, I just get angry and that's the end of it. It makes a little bit of extra acid in my stomach, but nobody kills me for what I say."

She called for journalists to ignore Iran's fanatics and look at "the 85% of people who don't vote for the Islamic Republic".

But she added that there would be no Persepolis 3, as she was now permanently based in Paris.

"I used my life to say what has happened in my country," she said.

"After 1994, the end of Persepolis 2, I don't live in Iran anymore, I live in Paris - so I don't have any credibility to talk about Iran anymore."


SEE ALSO:
Queen album brings rock to Iran
24 Aug 04 |  Entertainment
Tehran street slang is bestseller
31 May 04 |  Middle East
Iran's youth seek future overseas
29 May 03 |  Middle East
Moving stories: Azar Nafisi
02 Jan 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Iran
23 Nov 04 |  Country profiles


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