Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Reader's Diary #1824- Amir (writer), Khalil (artist): Zahra's Paradise

It shocks me sometimes how brave some writers are. Amir is Iranian and make no bones about it, Zahra's Paradise takes a scathing and explosive look at the current regime. Granted, from my understanding Amir is currently living in Canada, but still, what if he ever goes back? That said, if all of the accusations in this graphic novel are accurate, it definitely needed to be said.

To be sure, the book is a work of fiction. The plot revolves around a mother and son trying to locate the whereabouts of their son/brother who disappeared after a protest. But, it presents the so called leaders as corrupt, inept, and even murderous. It also presents the general Iranian populace as being far more modern and progressive than I think most of us in the Western hemisphere would have assumed. I found that part fascinating. Likewise, how life there can seem so much like my own for one brief moment and then there's a scene of bodies hung from a crane.

Khalil's accompanying art had me struggling at times though. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it reminded me stylistically of Dave Berg's "The Lighter Side of" strip from MAD Magazine. That, combined with the flowing, loopy font gave a really satirical tone. But when I think of satire, I think of humour as well as political messages. There may have been moments of humour, but I'm not sure it was enough to warrant the style. When things were particularly gruesome or nasty, I felt the art worked against it.

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