There have been countless times where I’ve read a book and commented that the ending ruined the book for me. I seldom finish a book and say that the ending made the book, but that was the case with Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Chicken with Plums.

This book is about her uncle, Nasser Ali Khan, a well known tar (a Persian instrument similar to a guitar) player whose tar is broken by his constantly nagging and belittling wife. He sets out in search of a new tar, but finds that he can no longer play. Without his music he decides to just lie down and wait to die, which takes eight days to happen. We then follow him through the last eight days of his life and in doing so we learn about the life he had before his final moments.

The book was a bit slow moving and as I was reading it I kept asking myself what was really going on. I didn’t understand why he was giving up on life instead of going out to look for another tar. And I kept asking myself why this was worthy of a book, but when I got to the end I finally understood. I actually had one of those “Aha” moments when I got to the last few pages of the book and I was glad I had stuck it through. This is a sad little story, but it’s fairly quick to read and gives more insight into Persian culture. If you’re looking for more by Marjane Satrapi, I’d recommend it.