Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi
The Complete Persepolis is in my top three favorite graphic memoirs. I think one of the things the makes Satrapi's work so compelling is her ability to articulate her struggles with self-identity in an honest and humerus way. If you haven't read Persepolis, I highly recommend it. However, I am disappointed to report, I didn't not enjoy Chicken With Plums nearly as much as I did her first graphic novel. I felt it lacked the sense of intimacy and emotions her earlier books exuded.
Chicken With Plums follows Satrapi's great-uncle, the famous tar musician Nasser Ali Khan. The novel opens as he discovers his beloved tar is broken and thereby decides he no longer has a reason to go on living. We are then taken from the present to flashbacks and flashforwards, learning more about Nasser and the reasoning for behind decision to give up. I found the end of the novel quite lovely, but I thought the majority was missing something. As always, Satrapi's artwork is beautiful and functions to make the story more personsonal.
At it's core, this is a love story, and a depressing one at that. It offers a portrait of a heartbroken musician who uses his interment as a way of coping with his sadness. It's a testament to the power of imagination and the power of memories to stay with us, dictating how our future selves evolve. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into the book in the way I hoped I would. Maybe my hopes were too high since I enjoyed Persepolis so much, but I was a little let down by this one.
Publisher: Pantheon, 2004