After her acclaimed Persepolis and Embroideries (both have been published in Indonesia by Gramedia, with Embroideries published as Bordir), Marjane Satrapi returned with Chicken with Plums, a rendition of the her great-uncle, the celebrated Iranian musician Nasser Ali Khan, who gave up his life for music and love.
When Nasser Ali Khan discovers that his beloved tar instrument is irreparably damaged, he isolates himself in his bed, refusing to meet any demands of social life and obligations despite his family’s attempts and coaxing to change his mind. As the weeks progress, he falls deeper and deeper into his own reveries, with memories and imaginations (the likes of the Angel of Death an Sophia Loren) haunting his vision.
I still think that Satrapi or Persepolis is rather overrated — David B.’s Epileptic deserves far more recognition, IMNSHO, and Gramedia should publish his Nocturnal Diaries as well as Joann Sfar’s Rabbi’s Cat — but at least in Chicken with Plums there were more multi-layered nuances barely explored in Embroideries. (I have other oft-recited reasons I’ve probably bored anyone who cares to hear, usually comparing Satrapi’s works with Iranian Cinema greats, but this is not the time & place to discuss it.) Chicken with Plum‘s somewhat hallucinatory nature also gives it slightly more tranquil resonance that is different yet still worthy of her better-known Persepolis. (Not that I’m saying “tortured artist” cliche has more worth than a Tehran Sex in the City, but Embroideries was honestly a disappointment.)
A very much appreciated gift from Anitha Selvia a.k.a. Tinta.
Title: Chicken with Plums (Ayam dengan Plum)
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Call No.: K SAT Aya