In her acclaimed Persepolis books and in Embroideries, Marjane Satrapi rendered the events of her life and times in a uniquely captivating and powerful voice and vision. Now she turns that same keen eye and ear to the heartrending story of her great-uncle, a celebrated Iranian musician who gave up his life for music and love.
We are in Tehran in 1958, and Nasser Ali Khan, one of Iran’s most revered tar players, discovers that his beloved instrument is irreparably damaged. Though he tries, he cannot find one to replace it, one whose sound speaks to him with the same power and passion with which his music speaks to others. In despair, he takes to his bed, renouncing the world and all its pleasures, closing the door on the demands and love of his wife and his four children. Over the course of the week that follows, his family and close friends attempt to change his mind, but Nasser Ali slips further and further into his own reveries: flashbacks and flash-forwards (with unexpected appearances by the likes of the Angel of Death and Sophia Loren) from his own childhood through his children’s futures. And as the pieces of his story slowly fall into place, we begin to understand the profundity of his decision to give up life.
Marjane Satrapi brings what has become her signature humor, insight, and generosity to this emotional tale of life and death, and the courage and passion both require of us. The poignant story of one man, it is also a story of stunning universality–and an altogether luminous work. (from Goodreads)
Love Marjane Satrapi’s books, love her family, love the stories she tells about her family in her books. This one is more depressing than some of her other ones, because it’s focused so heavily on one person and his life/memories/hallucinations as he starves himself to death.
The tone of Chicken with Plums is kinda interesting– it’s not judgmental of anyone in the story, really. It’s more reverential, or like she’s telling a legendary story from long ago. It really happened, the people who’re in it are/were real people, but it’s being told almost from a stranger’s point of view.
ALMOST, because no way is Marjane Satrapi a stranger to her own family. Alongside the reverence is the feeling of belonging, as in all of her books. It creates a weird tug-of-war; we’re close to the characters in the story, but also not.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading it but I felt really depressed afterwards. I prefer her more humorous stuff, I suppose? Still, I’d recommend it for people who want to learn more about Iranian culture/people.
Read: October 20, 2013