'Embroideries' gathers together many of the women in Marjane Satrapi's life - her beloved grandmother, her mother, an eccentric aunt, their friends and neighbours - for an afternoon of tea-drinking and talking. And as is only to be expected when a group of women reunite around cups of tea, the subjects turn to love, sex and the vagaries of men - in this case, Iranian men.
As the afternoon progresses, these colourful women share their secrets about, among other things: how to fake your virginity, how to escape the husband your family has chosen for you, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to take advantage of being someone's mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, to keep a man, or just to keep up appearances. We also witness tearful confessions and heavy-hearted tales of regret and betrayal, of unhappy marriages and of young women forced or choosing to marry for all the wrong reasons. And though love is mostly to blame, there's no missing the message that much of their suffering is due to a culture that prizes men above women and makes a woman's worth dependent on her virginity.
Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some very interesting ordinary women also demonstrates brilliantly how much women the world over have in common.