Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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.) " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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." New Yorker
"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." Kirkus Reviews
From the bestselling author of PERSEPOLIS comes this hugely accomplished, moving and multi-layered story of one man, Nasser Ali Khan (Marjane's great-uncle), a world class musician who gave up his life for music and love in 1950s Iran.
About the Author
Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She now lives in Paris, where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is also the author of several children's books, Embroideries, and the internationally best-selling and award-winning comic book autobiography in two parts, Persepolis and Persepolis 2. Persepolis is currently being made into an animated feature film, cowritten and codirected by Satrapi, which will be distributed by Sony Picture Classics in 2007.