“Embroideries” is a cartoon-style book about the sex lives of Iranian women, exposed in free-hand pictures (of a very befitting style) and speech bubbles, as as nine women discuss and re-tell their real life stories about love and consequential sex.
The illustrative style of the book — in monochrome of black and white — I found riveting and enabled the words and meanings to be amplified. I almost felt as if I was also in that story-telling room, sat cross-legged on the floor, listening intently as the narrating words streamed in quickly.
The characters brought together within the pages are “Marjane’s tough-talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbours… ”
Strangely, this is a book I picked up in Asia while on a low-energy mode and meandering around in-between work, sorting out me and my body. I read the book in one sitting… well, one evening and the next afternoon, plus I enjoyed it. Every page was worthwhile. It was a true refreshment from the heavy-going Chinese texts (in magazines) I’ve been subjecting myself to over the last few months. I can say that “Embroideries” was a thorough enjoyment for me.
Herein are some quotes I decided were worth blogging as an appetiser for those who are interested.
Quotes from “ EMBROIDERIES ”
written by Marjane Satrapi of Iran
published by Jonathan Cape London
(of the Random House Group), 2008,
My grandmother called my grandfather Satrapi, never by his first name. She said one must respect one’s husband.
— narrative by Marjane
“Look at me, I have always had wide open eyes like you. So when I was younger, I took a little taste [of opium] before going to parties. It made my eyelids heavy. It gave me a languorous look. By the way, you should learn to close your eyes a little.”
— grandmother Satrapi teaching Marjane how to find lovers more easily
“To speak behind others’ backs is the ventilator of the heart.”
— grandmother Satrapi on why discussion is their favourite activity
“Just one marriage was enough to make me realize that living with a man was unfeasible.”
— a woman in the discussion group
“Don’t marry with your heart but with your brain.”
— another woman in the discussion group
“I never knew what love was, because love is the opposite of good sense.”
— a woman who had a pro-creational, practical sex life within her marriage, producing 4 children without seeing even a glimpse of male genitalia
“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!!”
— on the topic of vaginoplasty and virginity
“Every time I watched MTV, I told myself that life was elsewhere.”
— Azzi re-tells her story
The author, Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Iran and now lives in Paris where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world.