Book Review – The Sigh

TITLE: The Sigh
AUTHOR: Marjane Satrapi
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2011
Translation: Edward Gauvin

As you might remember, I reviewed Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis, and its sequel, a while ago. So when I saw this book at my favorite used bookstore, I snagged it. I mean, first of all, I liked Persepolis (the sequel, notsomuch), but the book is hardback and full color and looked brand new. I splurged and spent $5 on it [note: I almost never spend more than $2 on something at my favorite used bookstore, so this was definintely a splurge. Books start at a nickel, so I could get this or I could get 100…]

Anywhoo… The Sigh is an old folk tale of sorts. It starts with a merchant who goes off and comes back with gifts for two of his three daughters. Although unable to otherwise find a blue bean for youngest, Rose, as luck would have it, she sighs and The Sigh, believing to be summoned, shows up at the door, the blue bean in hand. Dad, ecstatic to make his favorite daughter happy, promises anything in the world. A year passes. At the end of the year, the blue bean has grown 365 inches, leaves, and beans, and The Sigh appears on the doorstep, demanding the daughter. The merchant, of course, fights him, but in the end, is forced to stand by his word, and off his daughter goes.

I won’t explain the rest of the story, because, well, there should be some enjoyment for any of you that want to pick up this book. It reads like an old folk story, but I have no idea if it’s something that Satrapi wrote herself or just rebranded. In either event, she’s a graphic novelist, so I assume that this is done for the artwork’s sake at least as much as the story. The story was cute enough, and pretty typical folk story fare. You know, magic things are magic, creatures appear at random and nobody questions it, a guy watches a girl sleep and nobody thinks its creepy, etc. The art is Satrapi’s typical unrefined fare as well.
But together, they work nicely. The story is simple and predictable (which aren’t most folk tales?) but it’s a genre where we seem to know that going in. While the book’s cover price of $10.95 makes it a great little gift book, I don’t think it’s for everyone, so I’ll just give it a solid 4/5.

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