By Marjane Satrapi
Published by Pantheon Books; $16.95 USD

While the celebrated Persepolis books were autobiography about Satrapi's life as both an Iranian girl and an Iranian ex-patriot, Embroideries is, interestingly, a more intimate graphic novel. It's about Satrapi sitting down to tea with her relatives and family friends as they discuss sex, romance, men, and life, and all the ways these things intersect in Iranian society.

The story is told as a set of vignettes from the various characters, each tale filled with resonance and almost always bringing a smile of recognition. Satrapi's art seems to be evolving, with more close-ups and some interesting angles that show her exploring the possibilities of page design. The key appeal here, though, is the glimpse of humanity that we get through the stories the women tell, the lesson that gossip and storytelling cut across all boundaries, and that people are people no matter what they believe or where they believe it.

Embroideries is a sophisticated work from a unique voice in comics, a timely reminder that the medium can carry as many messages as creators can conceive, if only they have the imagination with which to conceive it. Grade: 4.5/5

-- Alan David Doane

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