eteaket Book Group (Review of Persepolis)

eteaket Book Group (Review of Persepolis)

We’ve been running a monthly book group since September 2009 and thought it was about time we started blogging a little about what we’re reading (if for no other reason than to keep track of what we’ve read). We meet on the 2nd last Wed of every month (apart from August) from 7-8.30pm in eteaket (41 Frederick St). If you’e interested in coming along, please email erica at and I’ll send you details. By the way, it’s totally free and we supply the tea.

For the April meeting, we had a choice of two novels (Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and The Complete Maus by Are Spiegelman). It seems that overall everyone was pleasantly surprised by how much the enjoyed these novels, particularly as most of us hadn’t realised graphic novels don’t necessarily mean superhero comic books. Everyone seemed to highly rate Maus but feelings were more mixed on Persepolis. Rachel has kindly written a review of Persepolis for us:

“I have read several graphic novels I think the first was Watchmen which has recently been turned into a film.  Shops that sell graphic novels over here tend to stock comic superhero graphic novels it is only more recently as the genre gained a tad of respectability that the wider portfolio of novels have been generally available.

Persepolis; city of the Persian is a monochrome graphic novel with a definite visual style and subject matter very different to the standard western graphic novel that arose from  the comic tradition. It is drawn by the author in black and white using patterns to denote texture and depth.  Marjane Satrapi is a young girl growing up in a steadily more oppressive Iran as it lurches from one crisis or war to another.

We will have all read of the impositions inflicted upon the people of Iran by it’s varies regimes, Persepolis gives a face and identity to each abstract horror in an almost detached manner.  I am not sure whether it’s the heavy ink visual style or Marjane’s own personality but I found it difficult to feel that horror that I knew I should as one personalised tragedy after another was paraded before me.  Similarly I could find little compassion for this young girl who seemed not to fit in any environment and constantly lectured the reader in detail regarding her own emotional turmoil.

Many in the group enjoyed the book, I did not.  I found it heavy, ponderous and self conscious. Compared to other novels that depict the tragedies of daily life and elevate the reader with a feeling of the intrinsic strength of the human spirit or communal warm and mutual support I could only feel relief that I have finished the book.” Reviewed by Rachel Hutton.

For the May meeting, we delved into Science Fiction and had a choice of Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt or On the Beach by Neville Shute. We’ll post a review shortly.

As everything we’ve read recently seems to have an ‘end of the world’ feel to it we’ve decided to lighten things up a little for June by going for Chic Lit vs Boy Lit. The choice is either How to be Good by Nick Hornby or My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. The idea is that the ladies read Nick Hornby and the gents read Jodi Picoult so we can get some different perspectives. Watch this space – and remember if you want to join us just email erica at

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