Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi

I read The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi (Archaia Entertainment, LLC) as part of my retelling search for Sirens. This came highly recommended, and it found a home on the Books and Breakfast list. I hadn't read it beforehand, and I can tell you that it moved to the top of my list just because the cover is really beautiful, with inlaid silver and more vivid colors than the cover image suggests.

Marjane Satrapi is probably best-known for Persepolis, an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in Iran and around Europe. The Sigh is a fairy tale, and an illustrated one, but (as it turns out) not formatted quite like a graphic novel. No matter, really.

The story centers on Rose, and starts in a way reminiscent of "Beauty and the Beast"; her father brings her home a simple gift, one that marks her as less materialistic than her sisters. Then, it diverges: Rose's beast is near death for want of a feather, and Rose enslaves herself, three times, to try to find his cure while at the same time rescuing three different men in ways that allude to fairy tales that are familiar but just beyond my reading memory.

In some ways, I found The Sigh very eyebrow-raising--Rose nearly obliterates herself to save the dudes from the evil women--and in others, very subversive, as the girl saves all of the princes. Even though the story is short and simple, I've found more to chew on than in books ten times its length.

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