Chicken with Plums

Marjane Satrapi


This is the story of Marjane’s great uncle, a famous musician. When his instrument is damaged, he searches unsuccessfully for a replacement. Depressed, he gives up the search and decides to die.

In the eight days between his loss and his death, Marjane’s wonderful illustrations travel back through his disappointing life. The only pleasure left to him is a favorite dish, chicken with plums.

Although I loved her illustrations, the story left me cold. This man cared nothing for his wife or children, only his instrument. If he couldn’t have it, he decided to die and did. What selfishness!


The Last Days of Cafe Leila

Donia Bijan


Thanks to Netgalley for ARC.

I read this book slowly, trying to make it last, the way one does with a delicious pastry, taking small bites of it at a time. This bittersweet tale of an Iranian’s return to home of her childhood moves between the now and the past of Noor, daughter of Zod and Pari,  owners of Cafe Leila. Along the way we learn of their history, too, and the bittersweet relationship of Noor and her daughter Lily.

Sprinkled in the text are not-quite-recipes, mouth-watering descriptions of the dishes served at Cafe Leila. They are enough to make you wish there was a restaurant near you serving such wonderful dishes.

As Noor negotiates the challenges of contemporary, post-revolutionary Iran, and her daughter’s sullen teenager opinion of being yanked out of today’s southern California freedom, we feel for Noor and want her and her daughter to be happy. Noor’s love for her daughter and her ailing, elderly father, form the central conflict of this story.

This is truly a book to be savored.



Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Marjane Satrapi


I never would have read this story if it had been text based, but the delightful pictures Marjane draws makes it irresistible. In Persepoli 2 she continues her engaging story with this account of her life in Austria and eventual return to Iran. She doesn’t fit in too well in Austria. She doesn’t speak German fluently and never feels at home in her own skin. She is unable to fit in with extended family and is not able to make friends easily. This book tells the tale of her struggles, ending with her return to Iraq. She finds that in spite of her parents’ love for her and her love for them for her grandmother, that she doesn’t fit in with them either. She has outgrown Iraq. I’m sorry that volumes 3 and 4 are not available in English. I look forward to read the further adventures of Marjane.