The writer and illustrator who chronicled her childhood in the best-selling graphic memoir “Persepolis” now turns to the life of her great-uncle Nasser Ali Khan. A revered musician, he takes to his bed and refuses sustenance after his frustrated wife breaks his tar—an Iranian lute—over her knee. It takes him eight days to die, and in that time Satrapi reveals the futures of his children and unearths his past. She shows her great-uncle not merely as a wayward romantic but as a conflicted man whose story embodies several aspects of Iranian cultural identity during the late nineteen-fifties. Satrapi’s deceptively simple, remarkably powerful drawings match the precise but flexible prose she employs in adapting to her multiple roles as educator, folklorist, and grand-niece.
The question of what makes a life worth living has rarely been posed with as much poignancy and ambition as it is in Satrapi's dazzling new effort. Satrapi's talent for distilling complex personal histories into richly evocative vignettes made Persepolis a bestseller. Here she presents us with the story of her great-uncle Nasser Ali Khan, one of Iran's most revered musicians, who takes to bed after realizing that he'll never be able to find an instrument to replace his beloved, broken tar. Eight days later, he's dead. These final eight days, which we're taken through one by one, make up the bulk of this slim volume. While waiting for death, Nasser Ali is visited by family, memories and hallucinations. Because everything is being filtered through Satrapi's formidable imagination, we are also treated to classical Persian poetry, bits of history, folk stories, as well as an occasional flash forward into lives Nasser Ali will never have a chance to see. Each episode is illustrated with Satrapi's characteristic, almost childlike drawings, which take on the stark expressiveness of block prints. Clear and emotive, they bring surprising force and humor to this stunning tribute to a life whose worth can be measured in the questions it leaves. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
After irreparable damage is done to his beloved tar (a classic instrument), Nasser Ali Khan retreats from life--with consequences that reverberate throughout his family. With a 13-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Satrapi (Embroideries, 2005, etc.) recalls the tragic final days of her great-uncle, an Iranian musician who died of a broken heart after his wife destroyed his favorite instrument. Set for the most part in Tehran circa 1958, this graphic memoir tells the story of Nasser Ali Khan, a renowned master of the tar, an Iranian stringed instrument. A man of taciturn demeanor and moodiness, Khan believes himself too much of an artist to perform non-creative labor; he barely contributes to the household upkeep with either work or money. Not surprisingly, his firecracker of a wife doesn't take well to this attitude and eventually cracks, snapping his beloved tar in two and sending Khan to his bed, where he grows gloomy and frets. This day-by-day reconstruction shows Khan's wife and brother trying to rouse him back to the land of the living. But his artist's pride (the tar was Stradivarius-like in its perfection) is not easily mended. As always, Satrapi's artwork is simple and expressive, with its rich pools of black ink and swooping, lyrical curlicues. Only occasionally does she break out of a strict frame-to-frame design, but when she does, the results are breathtaking. One beautiful page depicts the family of one of Khan's sons seated around the TV: In the top half, they're happy and chatty, watching a woman sing; in the bottom, all is in perditious shadow, a bearded man lecturing on the screen, with the text reading simply, "But in 1980 war erupted and that was the end of happiness." Unfortunately, the volume is so short that the story doesn't have enough time to take root, and what could have been an emotional and heart-rending drama becomes instead an intriguing footnote. A thin sliver ofillustrated memoir that barely hits its stride before fading away.
Praise for Chicken with Plums
“It’s amazing to see how much complexity and narrative cunning Satrapi crams into her images . . . Chicken with Plums is the most intricately laminated of her tales: The author shuffles past, present, and future like a cardsharp.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Beguiling . . . Completely seamless.”
—The Boston Globe
“Satrapi pushes the boundaries of her work further still . . . [She is] an Iranian Colette.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Satrapi’s deceptively simple, remarkably powerful drawings match the precise but flexible prose she employs in adapting to her multiple roles as educator, folklorist, and grand-niece.”
—The New Yorker
Praise for Persepolis
“A memoir of growing up as a girl in revolutionary Iran, Persepolis provides a unique glimpse into a nearly unknown and unreachable way of life . . . That Satrapi chose to tell her remarkable story as a gorgeous comic books makes it unique and totally indispensable.”
“It is virtually impossible to read Persepolis without falling in love.”
“The most original coming-of-age story from the Middle East yet.”
“A mighty achievement.”
—The New York Times Book Review