Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi

This graphic novel by the author of Persepolis was inspired by the life of Marjane Satrapi's great-uncle. Nasser Ali Khan has been passionate about two things in his life: a young woman he once courted, whose father wouldn't allow them to marry, and his music. He's spent his life playing his tar and has become one of Iran's most revered musicians. When his instrument is broken, under circumstances you will discover, he searches in vain for the perfect tar to replace it. When he can't, he takes to his bed and decides to give up on life.

Nasser Ali Khan is surrounded by his four children and his devoted but bitter wife, exhausted from years of  supporting the family, managing the household, and caring for the kids while her husband devotes his life to his music. Nasser is also visited by his brother. But he is disconnected from everyone around him, waiting to die. During the last days of his life, he is visited by odd visions, including the angel of death and Sophia Loren. We also get glimpses of Nassar's life through flashbacks and glimpses of the distant future. Many threads run through this deceptively simple story, revealing Iranian history, folklore, religion and philosophy.

I didn't like Nasser Ali Khan much -- he is intelligent, talented, and passionate about his art, but he is not a kind man. Nevertheless, through brief, artfully crafted flashbacks, the author revealed hidden layers to his humanity.

This is a sad, moving story about yearning and the fundamental things we believe make our lives worth living. It is also a tale about being oblivious to the feelings of the people who love us most. I highly recommend it, and I am in awe of Satrapi's gift for storytelling and her ability to weave a handful of words and images into a tale rich with cultural, spiritual, and emotional experience. This is a book which I read quickly but am unlikely to forget.

Read More Reviews: Reading and Rooibus; Things Mean a Lot; The Zen Leaf; Read About Comics

Rating: 4.5

5- Cherished Favorite4 - Keep in My Library3 - Good Read2 - Meh1 - Definitely Not
For Me

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts -- reader comments make this blogging gig worthwhile. :-) Due to excessive spam, we are now moderating all comments. Like that dude in the Monty Python skit, we just Don't ... Like ... Spam. I will try to post and respond to your comments as quickly as possibly.