Embroideries is a graphic novel that covers an evening of get together in the Satrapi household. Marji, her mother, grandmother and their elder female friends sit around, sipping tea as is custom in an Iranian house while gossiping about a lot under the sun. This book in particular is witness to their conversations about the woes of marriage, their sex lives (or lack thereof) and a lot of feminine grumbling. They talk about being married at a ridiculously young age; about restoring their virginity surgically which would delude their husbands-to-be into thinking of them as virgins; about maintaining their appearance not only to please the men but to look better than one another and such absurd topics.
Initially I was going to pick up Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi but I figured I’d give this a try since it looked like a quick read. The art work was very abstract and seemed a little unnatural. In the sense that it was a lot more difficult to absorb what was going on in a page than any graphic novel I’ve read. I understand that all of the 150 or so pages covered just an afternoon worth of conversation but there was very little matter to “read”. Nevertheless it was fun to know of their thoughts driven by customs and traditions. Marji, isn’t the spotlight of the novel but its her grand mother who leads almost all the discussions and gives out a dominant vibe. That is something I found odd. It wasn’t really a structured graphic novel but something designed to be read lightly and for the fun of it. It was funny to read some of the conversations and the novel reflects the backward thinking of many a people in society. I don’t necessarily dislike it but have mixed opinions about this one.
Ratings – 2.5 stars on 5.