Patricia‘s review – Aug 06, 2012
Marjane Satrapi stunned the world with her breakout literary/graphic memoir, Persepolis, which was printed in two parts: Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood, followed by Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. The two-part memoir in graphic novel format told the story of her childhood in revolutionary Iran, and has now been published as The Complete Persepolis. This work was subsequently released as an animated feature film, Persepolis, which Satrapi co-wrote and co-directed. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007.
Now Satrapi has produced the most intricate and highly crafted of her works, Chicken With Plums, which is the story of an Iranian musician and his decision to give up his life out of despair for both his shattered musical instrument and a lost love.
What makes this memoir/work of fiction so effective is Satrapi’s seamless use of time sequence, as well as her remarkable artistry. The twists of fate and ironies of life in Iran are not lost on the reader.
Satrapi’s graphics are even more compelling in this memoir, their inky, linoleum block effect rendering mood and fateful events capably. Her prose is spare, never stating anything when the image can speak for itself.
The storyline, which meanders purposefully through the life of the author’s great uncle, is very perceptive and revealing, showing his thought processes as he develops as a musician, falls in love, is rejected as a suitor because of his calling, makes a convenience marriage to a friend of the family and raises his children from an emotional distance, unaware that he is wrong about which child really loves him. His deliberate hunger strike to the point of death is broken up by visitors, visions of Sophia Loren and food fantasies, hence the title.
Readers who enjoyed Persepolis will appreciate Chicken with Plums. It is a quick and compelling read, visually stimulating and provides some interesting philosophical and moral twists.