Comic - Marjane Satrapi (4 stars)

Marjane Satrapi

Chicken With Plums (Jonathan Cape)


Having recounted the story of her own life in Persepolis, Iranian cartoonist Marjane Satrapi here tells the tale of the strange death of her great uncle, Nasser Ali Khan. By all accounts Khan was a world-class musician, and by Satrapi’s he was a loving father, so-so husband and melancholy artist. Following a row with his wife that concluded with her breaking his beloved tar (a Stradivarius quality stringed instrument) Khan decided he didn’t want to live anymore, and so he turned his back on his family and went to bed with the intention of dying, which he did eight days later.

With her spare style, unflinching observation and dark sense of humour, Satrapi’s portrait of an artist as a moody bugger is astute and affecting. And, while Chicken With Plums is a less ambitious graphic novel than its Iranian history-spanning predecessor, Satrapi’s storytelling skill has moved on in leaps and bounds.

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