Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi

Nylon Road
by Parsua Bashi
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006

Like Persepolis, but with a more interesting structure. Instead of a linear “coming-of-age” account of growing up in Iran before and after the revolution of 1979, this book finds the graphic designer author newly arrived in Zurich at the age of 38, grappling with the complexities of the Swiss-German dialect and ingeniously haunted by past selves from specific stages of her life, her younger doppelgängers voicing more disapproval than a chorus of mother-in-laws.

Her 13-year old self, in the middle of a strident Marxist phase, denounces her new life as bourgeois. Her 29-year old self relives the heartbreak of losing custody of her child because she had the temerity to ask her boorish husband for a divorce. The repression of life under a fundamentalist and misogynistic religious regime is compared with the unlimited freedoms (and sexist hypocrisies) of a liberal Western democracy.

It’s an intensely thoughtful book, well-designed (as you’d expect) and fizzing with ideas and debate – the only criticism I have of the structure is that it ends rather suddenly when Bashi ties herself up in knots about self-censorship and her past selves simply lower a banner which reads ‘The End’.

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