After publication to high acclaim in France and Spain, Marjane Satrapi’s illustrated folktale, The Sigh, will be released in English by Archaia in November.
Honestly, I’ve never read Persepolis. So other than everyone telling me how amazing it is, I had no real context on Satrapi’s work going into this. However, prior knowledge of the author aside, one thing I was not prepared for (but pleasantly surprised by) was that the book is not a traditional comic. I would place it, rather, in more of a graphic book category. It is a folktale, and as such, the words take front seat, but the book is nonetheless beautifully illustrated in Satrapi’s distinctive style. (I never said I had never SEEN Persepolis).
The Sigh is the story of Rose, one of three daughters of a rich merchant. Every time he takes a trip, he brings back his daughters whatever they wish from the market. One day, Rose asks for a particular blue bean, but her father can not find it anywhere. When he comes home empty-handed, she lets out a sigh of disappointment that attracts The Sigh, who brings the merchant the seed, but at a price.
Like all good folk tales, The Sigh carries a heavy-handed lesson. But it is done skillfully so that you are unsure if you are reading an original creation or an ages-old fable. Satrapi manages to find the rhythm of the genre perfectly so that you become engrossed in the simplicity of the fairy tale rather than bogged down in the moral.
The art is reminiscent of the style in Persepolis, but with a bit more whimsical bend. People are drawn loosely and often with slight exaggeration to accentuate the character’s most important features. Knowing ver little about actual drawing techniques, I can’t really pinpoint how she created the art (I can tell it’s digitally colored but that’s it), but ultimately it gives the feel of having been drawn in crayon or colored pencil. It is sketchy without being indistinguishable and colorful without being childish.
The art also serves to reveal Satrapi’s comic book background. While the text is well-written and can tell you a complete story, the illustrations are rich with background information and small details that can enhance the story for those who really take the time absorb all the details. They speak volumes all on their own without overwhelming the text at all.
And of course, the book itself is beautifully assembled, but I would expect nothing less from Archaia. I can not wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this title.
You can check out a preview of the first few pages by clicking each of the thumbnails below to enlarge the page.
TL;DR: The Sigh is the first title by Marjane Satrapi to be translated into English since Persepolis. It is a beautifully written and illustrated graphic book, telling a well-thought-out and heart-warming fairy tale of consequences and love. I want it on my bookshelf when it comes out and I think you would too.
The Sigh will be published by Archaia starting November 8. It will be a 6×9 hardcover, 56 full color pages and retail for $10.95. Check with your LCS or your local bookstore to order your copy. Or you can pre-order now on Amazon.
A press PDF of The Sigh as well as all preview materials were graciously provided to Spandexless by Archaia Entertainment. All copyright belongs to Marjane Satrapi.