Zahra’s Paradise

Zahra's ParadiseBy Amir (Author) and Khalil (Illustrator), 272 pages, First Second
In 2009, the Iranians put all their hopes in the presidential elections, during which the majority had voted for the reformist candidate, Musavi, who had promised opening the political atmosphere up. However, their hopes crashed when in less than two hours after the  closure of the polls, the result was announced and Ahmadnejad was declared the President-elect. Evidences of irregularities surfaced immediately and the people poured into the streets for peaceful and silent rallies. The request of these peaceful protesters for a recount was met with batons and bullets. Hundreds were gunned down by the regime, thousands were arrested and tortured, and many of detainees simply disappeared with no trace.
This Graphic Novel is the fictional story of Mehdi, one of these young protesters who went missing after being arrested. Better say, it’s the story of his family who try to keep him from falling into the river of oblivion: His mother who does not give up on her son, and his blogger brother who tries to fight the dark abyss of nothingness his brother has fallen into.
Zahra’s Paradise, the result of the collaboration between a Jewish editor, an Iranian writer and an Arab illustrator, is an engaging graphic novel that may change the way we look at this genre.

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