book review: nylon road

Last week I got a copy of a graphic novel memoir about a young woman growing up in Iran. That wasn’t called Persepolis. This was Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi and that Persepolis comparison is all over this book. Persepolis is mentioned in the first line of the book’s back cover summary. In one of the later chapters Bashi has drawn herself reading Persepolis. All through my time reading it I was comparing it to Persepolis, and it definitely comes off the weaker.

Bashi tells her story of growing up in Iran and emigrating to Switzerland in the form of a series of conversations with herself from different ages. It’s a decent enough setup to compare her views now with views she had at different ages. Speaking of ages, the back cover talks about it being a young woman’s struggles but she was 40 when the book was published. The point of view throughout is much more mature than young as she tells us about how she used to think. It’s broken into small chapters that aren’t very sequential. More of a collection of ruminations. Selah.

Art-wise, there’s not a lot exciting going on. She uses a similar simple style to Satrapi’s work in Persepolis, which is fine, but doesn’t help avoid comparisons between the two.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the book. Maybe if Persepolis isn’t available and you need a memoir about a woman growing up in Iran this would be fine. It would also work very well as a secondary source in an essay about the graphic memoir form (in a “in books like Persepolis and Nylon Road…” kind of way).

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