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Balloonless | Marjane Satrapi’s The Sigh

When you think of Marjane Satrapi, chances are you think of comics about her family and her native country of Iran. The Sigh is neither a comic, nor is it about her family or Iran.

Rather it is a short, illustrated prose fairy tale, and one that, while original, is heavily inspired by and contains elements of many other familiar fairy tales, although not necessarily Iranian ones, with Beauty and the Beast and the story of Cupid and Psyche  informing much of the early part of the book.

While it’s not the sort of work Satrapi is best known for, it’s not exactly a departure either. Her 2006 graphic novel Chicken With Plums featured some fairy tale-like sequences embedded within it, even if it the overall story was inspired by stories of a real relative of hers, and that same year Bloomsbury published a children’s picture book of hers entitled Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon.

The Sigh was originally published in Satrapi’s adopted country of France, and Archaia re-published it in an English-language edition late last year. Edward Gauvin handled the translation, and it’s a very lovely-looking book the publisher has put together. I’m not speaking of the art, necessarily—we’ll get to that in a moment—but as in an object.

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Marjane Satrapi’s The Sigh coming from Archaia in November

The Sigh

I completely missed this in the latest Previews and when Michael noted it last week — Archaia Entertainment will publish an English-language version of Persepolis creator Marjane Satrapi’s The Sigh in November.

The illustrated book has already appeared in France and Spain, and is a fable about the daughter of a merchant. “One day Rose asks for the seed of a blue bean, but her father fails to find one for her. She lets out a sigh in resignation, and her sigh attracts the Sigh, a mysterious being that brings the seed she desired to the merchant. But every debt has to be paid, and every gift has a price, and the Sigh returns a year later to take the merchant’s daughter to a secret and distant palace,” the press release Archaia sent out today reads. The 6” x 8” hardcover will feature 56 pages of text and hand-drawn color illustrations.

“The Sigh is a timeless fairytale that promises to capture the imaginations of readers both young and old,” said Mark Smylie, chief creative officer of Archaia Entertainment. “Marjane is one of those rare writers who has the ability to connect with readers on a global scale and we are proud to bring this story to the U.S.” The release also hints that The Sigh is the first of many new English-language translations coming from Archaia, noting it is “the vanguard of a new wave of foreign titles it will be publishing in the next several months.”


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