An Iranian Metamorphosis
L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist (Graphic Novel/Comics) 2014 Cartoonist Studio Prize Shortlist 2014 Can a children's cartoon cause riots? One of Mana Neyestani's cartoons sparked riots, shuttered the newspaper he worked for, and landed the cartoonist and his editor in solitary confinement inside of Iran's notorious prison system. But that's not the whole story. Neyestani exposes the complex interplay between art, law, politics, ethnic sensitivities, and authoritarian elements inside of Iran's Islamic Republic. In his journey to escape imprisonment, the artist travels from Iran to Dubai, Turkey, Malaysia, all the way to China. Along the way he shines a light on the dangerous and convoluted measures taken by refugees in their attempts to find safety and freedom. Mana Neystani's story is at once unique, universal, and truly Kafkaesque. "There is always that risk, that possibility, that the authorities will find a political dimension to your drawings."--Mana Neyestani for Le Monde.
- Paperback | 160 pages
- 170.18 x 241.3 x 17.78mm | 317.51g
- 02 Dec 2014
- Uncivilized Books
- MN, United States
L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist (Graphic Novel/Comics) 2014 Cartoonist Studio Prize Shortlist 2014 "[Mana Neyestani] remolds the exhausting terrors of his life's worst months into grim comedy, and presents his friends and adversaries alike as mad-eyed, putty-bodied grotesques, crosshatched with a political caricaturist's wicked eye for frailties."--The New York Times "Neyestani, who uses Kafka as a reference point, is plunged into a nightmare as bizarre as Gregor Samsa's [...] From the opening panel, Neyestani's account of his personal ordeal masterfully conveys tension with a dense, cross-hatched style that powerfully evokes the claustrophobia of his imprisonment, and the lasting mental effects of his senseless persecution."--Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW "An Iranian Metamorphosis is a masterful work: the straightforward tale of the artist's detention -- and that of his editor Mehrdad Ghasemfar -- woven together by moments of humor, tragedy and surreal Kafkaesque absurdity."--Los Angeles Times "An Iranian Metamorphosis is, ultimately, many things: an exploration of a number of storytelling devices, a portrait of a marriage under siege from external forces, and one man's harrowing education of the horrific underside within his society. In the end, it's a dizzying read, but also a deeply moving one -- and a work that's surreality and confusion make it an eminently fitting component of Kafka's legacy."--Paste Magazine "While Neyestani's experiences feel so foreign and dangerous, the way he tells the story is very human and relatable. With his black and white artwork and universal cartooning, Neyestani brings us into the story as the images don't make this just an Iranian story but a very human story."--Panel Patter "Mana Neyestani's autobiographical graphic novel opens with the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa, Kafka's famous hero that suddenly transformed into a cockroach. It's an apt homage given the quintessentially Kafkaesque situation facing the Iranian author. The cockroach haunts the entire narrative. With a clean black and white line, masterful cross-hatching, and heaps of dark humor, Neyestani evokes the streak of improbable bad luck that lands him in prison and saddles him with a criminal record. He keeps himself at a distance so he can poke fun at his predicament. At the forefront is his physical and spiritual metamorphosis. He is first and foremost a young idealistic cartoonist, clean shaven and laid back. He transforms into a disheveled and cornered prisoner, sweating bullets, before he becomes a hunched fugitive; his eyebrows furrowed, devoured by anxiety. Along the way he uses his story to lift the curtain on contemporary life in Iran. [...] Neyestani invites the reader to his nightmare and shares his hesitations, his doubts and his fears. Poetic and dream-like [An Iranian Metamorphosis] reflects his emotions, the love for his wife, the feeling of falling into a trap, and his dream of freedom."--Le Monde "Neyestani the illustrator breaks free of the square boxes on the pages and often draws his scenes outside of the defined lines. The story runs wherever he sees fit, an action barred from him during his time locked away."--The Mantle
About Mana Neyestani
Mana Neyestani (b. 1973 in Tehran) is an Iranian cartoonist and illustrator for economic, intellectual, political, cultural, and professional magazines. He is particularly known for his work for the newspaper Zan and Persian language Radio Zamaneh. He is the recipient of the 2010 Cartoonists Rights Network International Courage Award in Editorial Cartooning. He lives in France.