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Books | An Iranian Metamorphosis

by BHAKTI SHRINGARPURE

19 Oct 2012 21:58Comments
mana_neyestani.jpg[ spotlight ] Warscapes, an online magazine, features a conversation with Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani; an introduction is excerpted below. His graphic novel, Une M├ętamorphose Iranienne (An Iranian Metamorphosis), was published recently.
It is unclear whether Neyestani was always painfully shy and anti-social, but it would not be a stretch to say that he is marked by his many months of solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison, notorious for housing political and intellectual prisoners. The innocent use of an Azeri word by a cockroach character in one of his cartoons led to rioting amidst ethnic Azeris in Iran. Police opened fire on the protesters, and some were killed. Neyestani was imprisoned without trial.

Neyestani's autobiographical graphic novel begins in the labyrinthine prison and continues with the cartoonist's journey to find refuge in a friendly country after fleeing Iran upon being granted a provisional release from prison. After endless paperwork, time and money spent on visas, he and his wife traveled from Dubai to China, and finally to Malaysia, where the graphic novel ends.

The visa rejections continued, however, until France finally accepted Neyestani's plea for asylum. He agreed to chat with me about his work and life from Paris where he now lives with his wife, Mansourieh, and their beloved cat.

Please click here to read the interview.

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