In the tradition of graphic memoirs such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, comes the story of a young Iranian woman’s struggles with growing up under Shiite Law, her journey into adulthood, and the daughter whom she had to leave behind when she left Iran. NYLON ROAD is a window into the soul of a culture that we are still struggling to understand. Beautifully told, poignant, this is a powerful work about the necessity of freedom.
Bashi's "nylon road"—a play on the Silk Road, that ancient caravan route crossing Persia—led her to Europe at age 38. Bashi follows a boyfriend to Switzerland, where she is ambushed by a succession of former selves at different ages, all reacting to her new European life. This device frames Bashi's internal conflicts in a way both lighthearted and intense as she comes to terms with living in a Westernized country. Through flashbacks, we learn about the Islamic Revolution, her marriage to a repressive man and their subsequent divorce—she gave up her child as the price—and her later career as a successful designer. Perhaps her teenage Marxism, the Shiite fundamentalist repression that followed, and Westerners' obsession with "trivial" pop trends all overly suppress individuality. Bashi never does draw conclusions but comes to embrace her many selves while leaving readers to ponder. The stylish, two-toned art brings to mind Cancer Vixen. VERDICT A perceptive and nuanced take on repression, freedom, and women's lives; recommended for teens and up. Also, an excellent readalike for Persepolis.—M.C.