ISBN-13: 9780375714757
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Published: 2006
83 pgs

I remember I was first introduced to Marjane Satrapi's graphic novels after reading a review of Persepolis over at Nymeth's blog, and subsequently I have heard so many good things of this author's works from other bookbloggers that I decided it is time for me to check out Marjane's books.

So I visited the bookstore during my lunch break yesterday, hoping to find a copy of Persepolis but to my great disappointment, I could not find any except a copy of Chicken with Plums. Given the thought that I want to read a Marjane Satrapi's book badly, I left the bookstore happily with that book though I did tell myself I will have to get Persepolis from The Book Depository (they offer free shipping, what more could I ask?).

Anyway, I devoured the book on the same day since it is less than a 100 pages and I have to thank Nymeth and the rest of the bookbloggers for introducing this author/artist to me. Set in the year of 1958 in Tehran, Chicken with Plums is about Marjane's great-uncle, Nasser Ali Khan, a renowned Iranian musician who plays tar and is very passionate over his instrument. He fell into deep depression after his beloved instrument was destroyed by his wife and though he made an effort to find another tar, he knew none of those would ever replace his beloved tar. He began to isolate himself until the idea of death flashes through his mind.

The story then shift backwards eight days before his death where readers get a glimpse of his childhood till the man he is at present. Through these fragment of memories we came to know more of his relationship with his family (in particular to his wife) and why he has a passion for tar and so forth. He also wonders if his family even care about him, but I think one often misinterpret each other's feelings with a wrong move of body language or simply a lack of affections and this is such the case with Nasser Ali and his wife.

Though I do not like Nasser Ali's pessimism but I think he makes an interesting character in this story. I loved reading the exchanges between himself and his children (his favourite child is Farzaneh, the youngest daughter among his four children and he thinks Mozaffar, the youngest son is nothing but a chore). I think he is prejudiced against Mozaffar and there is a scene about what Mozaffar did for his father has moved me deeply. The ending caught me completely off-guard as his real reason to let go of his life has never crossed my mind (and don't you love it when this happens with the book you are reading?).

I loved how the bold black and white drawings make a great visual on top of the wonderful plot; and the only downside is I feel this story is too short. Oh, how I wish I have Persepolis with me now so I could view more of Marjane Satrapi's lovely illustrations!

Other reviews:
A Life in Books
Jenny's Books
Out of the Blue
State of Denmark
The Inside Cover
The Written World
(Let me know if I missed yours.)
16 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    Great review, Melody. It interesting what you said about this book. Do you think you will read more by this author?

  2. Violet Says:

    I have Persepolis in my TBR, I was so thrilled when I found it. Chicken with plums sounds so good. I'll have to wait to search for this until I read Persepolis though. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Unknown Says:

    I'm half way through Persepolis at the moment and am loving it.

    This is the first time I have seen any of her other books mentioned, so it is great to hear that this one is good too!

  4. Debi Says:

    I have yet to read any of her books. :( I even have Persepolis, but just haven't made time to read it yet. Bad me. I also have her picture book Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon, which I'm really looking forward to reading with my youngest...maybe even this weekend. :D
    Glad you enjoyed the book, Melody! And YAY for Book Depository...hope your book arrives soon!

  5. Jenny Says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed it! I hope you're able to get Persepolis soon, because it is quite remarkable.

  6. The Bookworm Says:

    Great review, this sounds very good! Its nice when a book surprises you.

  7. Beth F Says:

    I'll have to pick this one up. I really liked Persepolis -- very interesting memoir. I too like to take a chance on a book sometimes.

  8. Alice Says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Melody! Great review. :)

  9. Melody Says:

    Julia - I'll definitely read the rest of the graphic novels by this author. She's good!

    Violet - Persepolis is high onto my wishlist... Wait, make that to-buy list! :P

    Jackie - I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Persepolis. Can't wait to hear what you'll think of it!

    Debi - I didn't know she has a picture book too! Thanks for telling me! :D

    Jenny - Yes! I'll have to buy Persepolis soon! ;)

    Naida - I really enjoyed reading this book! Marjane is a talented artist.

    Beth - I hope you'll enjoy this book when you get to it!

    Alice - Thanks! It was a great read, and so are the illustrations! :D

  10. Veens Says:

    God! You make me want to grab Persepolis! I am sure I am going hunting for this author's book next time i m in the store!

  11. Aren't the drawings fantastic? I haven't read this one but I loved Persepolis and have this and Embroideries on my list. Yay!

  12. Kailana Says:

    I really enjoyed this back when it came out. I wish she would come out with something else, I have read everything else!

  13. Ana S. Says:

    This is the only one of her books I haven't read yet, but I'm very glad to hear you liked it, Melody! I completely agree about her artwork.

  14. I didn't realize Marjane Satrapi had written so much! I must run out and look for this one soon. I hope you will be able to read Persepolis soon. It's definitely whet my appetite for more by this author.

  15. Care Says:

    I saw this title a lot yesterday! Love that purple cover. CHEERS!

  16. Melody Says:

    Veens - I hope you'll read the books by this artist soon! She's awesome!

    Trish - Oh yes! I need to get Embroideries too! Thanks for reminding me! ;P

    Kailana - I look forward to reading her other books! And I wish she'll have a new release out soon!

    Nymeth - Her artworks are amazing! Thanks for introducing her books to me. :)

    Wendy - It seems like I'm the last person to read Persepolis! ;P Now this book will be the top on my to-read list.

    Care - I love the colours on the cover too!

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