The time: the early s. The place: a well-appointed house in Tehran. A formal luncheon party is just coming to an end. After the man of the house has complimented his wife on the food, he and all the other men go off to take naps. Young Marjane is sent off to prepare the samovar, while her mother, her aunt, her grandmother and their friends do the washing-up.
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Amazon wishlist. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi. Our Assessment: B : nicely drawn, some decent stories, but too simple and simplistic. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review 's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.
Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.
We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The complete review 's Review :. Embroideries is another of Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical books, heavy on the comic book-type illustrations, fairly light on the text.
Embroideries doesn't continue her life-story, but rather offers examples of many others'. The setting is a Tehran Kaffeeklatsch well, a tea-klatsch , a gathering of women presided over by Marjane's grandmother. Her motto here is: "To speak behind others' backs is the ventilator of the heart", and there's a good deal of ventilating going on along with quite a bit of confession. The main topic of conversation is sex, and in experiences they've had or heard about the women present a picture of sex in contemporary Iran.
The stories that are related are both disturbing and funny, a variety of mishaps of varying degrees of tragedy and comedy usually a mix of the two. Common to many of them is the obsession with a woman being a virgin when she gets married. The stories are nicely related: Satrapi's drawings are charming and well-organised, and the dialogue conversation-like and convincing. But, as tends to be the case in such exchanges of stories tossed back and forth across a table or room at this sort of gathering, they are less real stories than anecdotes.
Satrapi makes her points, but there's little beyond that -- and certainly no discussion of the issues involved. The drawings help suggest a little more about the characters, but other than the grandparents these are examples, not individuals. In the way most of them are presented they remain memorable -- if at all -- for their particular sexual mishap the woman with the razor blade Surely that can't be the message she is trying to convey?
The ridiculousness of the prevalent sexual mores is self-evident, but Satrapi also does little to explore either the reasons for these or the implications of other possible attitudes. One aunt, for example, takes the most radical position: Why don't we behave as Westerners do!? For them, since the problem of sex is resolved, they can move on to other things!
This is the reason they progress!!! There's no attempt whatsoever to question or challenge or embrace this opinion; the reactions are the claim that in the West aristocrats also value virginity highly another dubious assertion that goes unchallenged and then it's on with the next anecdote. Satrapi offers good, sly fun: the anecdotes are well-presented, the drawings winning.
The reader feels like a fly on the wall or a voyeur at this gathering in this household, watching and listening to these women gab and gossip away. But, while it's not entirely superficial fun, there is ultimately relatively little depth here, neither in the exploration of these characters nor in any true exploration of the subject matter. Embroideries is appealing enough: it's an enjoyable, entertaining read.
But it's ultimately also pretty thin stuff -- and feels closer in quality and presentation to a TV sit-com than a decent book. Don't get us wrong: there are or have been some damn fine TV sit-coms out there, and like them Embroideries strikes a chord and makes an impression.
But the impression is a fairly fleeting and shallow one, and it's best enjoyed in the moment and has little resonance. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Contents: Main.
Embroideries - US. Embroideries - UK. Embroideries - Canada. Broderies - France. Sticheleien - Deutschland. Sunday Telegraph. The Washington Post.
Look Inside. From the best—selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most important, keep up appearances. Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere—and to teach us all a thing or two.
Tea and adversity
On Marjane Satrapi’s Early #MeToo Novel
They converse in a woman-only space. I first saw the slim book, unexpectedly, in a Foyles bookstore after getting off the London Underground at Waterloo Station. Its mauve-dark cover—a purple background, in front of which women in black stand and smile at the reader—immediately tugged at me. For years, I taught Embroideries to undergrads in a Global Literature class. We talked about depictions of Iran, Orientalism, sexuality, cults of virginity, and the way that comics, like text, arguably have their own language, their own unique way to be consumed as artistic medium, old as our earliest paintings on cave walls.