CHICKEN WITH PLUMS REVIEW
CHICKEN WITH PLUMS is a graphic novel, in black and white, written by Marjane Satrapi, who is very famous for having written Persepolis and Persepolis2 reflecting her own life. Now, in this book, she turns that same keen eye and ear to describe and illustrate the heartrending life and disturbing last eight days of her great-uncle, Nasser Ali Kahn. He was a well-known Iranian musician, celebrated for his virtuosity, who gave up his life for music and love.
This tale shows how a man’s happiness was gradually decayed by his suppressed feelings and unrealizable expectations.
The story begins in Tehran in 1958. Nasser Ali Khan, who was one of the best tar players, discovers that his beloved instrument is irreparably damaged. Actually, it has been broken by his wife in a moment of rage. Although he tries, he cannot find one to replace it. What he is looking for is a new tar whose sound speaks to him with the same power and passion with which his music speaks to others. His hopelessness and despair makes him go to his bed and renounce the world and its pleasures – “to live, it’s not enough to be alive.”
Over the course of the week that follows, precisely the eight following days, his family and close friends attempt to change his mind, but Nasser Ali has already decided to wait for death to come, abandoning the demands and love of his wife and his four children.
Through the story, it is possible to identify that there are several flashbacks revealing his childhood and his relationship with his mother. He also remembers an old love which has been forbidden because of his being a musician, and how he has learned to play the tar. Not only that, but he also highlights his unhappy marriage with someone who he does not love, and his disrespectful relationship with his own children. Furthermore, it is possible to identify some flash-forwards of his children’s future, and some hallucinations with the unexpected appearances of characters like the...