cover image Iranian Love Stories

Iranian Love Stories

Jane Deuxard and Deloupy, trans. from the French by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Graphic Mundi, $24.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-63779-004-5

In this bold and irresistible look at life under religious rule, a foreign journalist team (who are also a romantic couple) working under the pseudonym “Jane Deauxard” interview young adults in Iran about the private lives they’re not supposed to have, which Deloupy (Algériennes) draws. One pair gets engaged on the sly while the woman’s family holds out for an arranged marriage; another couple discovers during their interview how little they know about each other after years of covert meetings; two female friends dish about their secret boyfriends and argue that they have it better than Western women (“I’m a queen here!”); and a protest leader lies low after being arrested and tortured by the regime. Everything happens in secret: smoking, drinking, dating, parties, music (“When you live in Iran, I promise you, Pink Floyd lyrics resonate with you”), and, above all, sex. Behind the furtive, paranoid atmosphere hovers the shadow of the 2009 Green Movement, and its failure to produce lasting change, which seems to drain many interviewees of hope. Perspectives range from a woman who emerges from a police raid with an attitude of “I hate them more than I’m afraid of them,” to a man who shrugs, “Freedom doesn’t pay the rent.” Deloupy’s assured art is drenched in the warm colors of the Middle East. Secret lives shine through in this excellent work of comics journalism. (Dec.)