Mini-Review: The Sigh

December 19, 2016
The Sigh Book Cover The Sigh
Marjane Satrapi
Fairy Tale
Archaia Entertainment
December 13th, 2001
Hardcover
52
Library
2004

Rose is one of three daughters of a rich merchant who always brings gifts for his girls from the market. One day Rose asks for the seed of a blue bean, but he 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.

(via Goodreads)


A variation on a traditional Azerbaijani fairy tale, The Sigh is a breath of fresh air for those used to the saccharine-sweet Disney tales. More in line with traditional Grimm and Scheherazade tales, Satrapi’s interpretation isn’t completely gruesome but contains all the iconic fairy tale details a lover of this genre would appreciate.

The Sigh tells the story of Rose, the-sigh-marketplacethe youngest daughter of a merchant who promises to bring his daughter’s heart’s desires upon returning from his travels. When he returns, he was unable to bring the seed of a blue bean that Rose requested. In her disappointment, she lets out a deep sign which summons Ah the Sigh (I can’t decide if this name is perfect or the absolute worst…) from the Kingdom of Sighs.  Ah offers Rose’s father the gift. He accepts, offering anything in return.  We can see where this is going…

As we can expect, Ah returns in a year and requests Rose. From this point forward, can you guess the plot? What seems like a standard fairy tale quickly veers from the traditional. Instead of allowing herself to be held hostage to her situation and the new kingdom Rose lives in, she chooses to take control of her own destiny. Obviously, Rose meets and falls in love with the prince of the Kingdom. When she accidentally kills the prince and sets the Kingdom into disrepair, the-sigh-fightRose takes it upon herself to rescue her prince and her new kingdom. Along the way she rescues a number of families from various predicaments making her more like Brave’s Merida than Rapunzel.

Now as I am not familiar with this original story, I cannot say if Satrapi put her own twist on any of the written story elements. But, as with her other works, she provides beautiful illustrations. In beautiful color, Satrapi provides a cultural backdrop to her story without adding too much detail. I found these illustrations were the perfect accompaniment to this fairy tale.

Fantastic in the literal way, The Sigh is one fairy tale you’ll want to add to your collection. It’s a quick read and a breath of fresh air.

4 stars

13 Comments

  • Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons December 19, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    This sounds amazing. I loved Persepolis, so I’m sure I’ll like this one. I’m definitely adding it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jackie B December 19, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Thank you, Sarah! It is a fun and quick read– quite different in scope from Persepolis, but still moving. I hope that you enjoy it!

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea December 19, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I didn’t see the name of the original fairytale? Do you know it (or is my bad I making me a terrible blog buddy who is missing pieces of your review?). I need to read this! I love fairytales <3 Lovely little review 🙂

    • Jackie B December 19, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Don’t worry, Danielle! You are a great blog buddy. 🙂 No, I didn’t mention the original fairy tale title. I tried to locate it, but I couldn’t find it! The original collection hasn’t been translated into English (according to my searching). I did find references to the original fairy tale in a few other reviews I read, but they didn’t point it out either. Honestly, this could be an example of false news…. O_o
      Or! Perhaps it’s just a retelling? I have read a few retellings lately which didn’t point out they were retellings. It was weird.

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea December 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

        Oooohhhh.. a mystery. Now I am even more curios. Well let me know if anything additional turns up 😉

  • AvalinahsBooks December 20, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Sounds really good! Love fairytale retellings. I wonder if it’s available in e-book form?

    • Jackie B December 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Sadly, I don’t think it is! I tried to look for it and was not successful. In fact, I cannot find a single Marjane Satrapi book available via Kindle or Nook! That’s a shame– she has a great collection of books! I hope that you can find some of them– Persepolis is my favorite.

  • Brendon December 21, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I love Satrapi’s style, especially her art. This sounds excellent. I haven’t really read or heard any Azerbaijani fairy tales, so this definitely intrigues me. Thank you for the mini-review!

    • Jackie B December 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      I am trying to read her complete works, but it’s slow going. Her books are so popular at the library that it feels like everyone is on the waiting list! Some day I’ll get them all read. #2017Goals

  • paintdigi December 23, 2016 at 12:11 pm

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  • Laila@BigReadingLife December 23, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    I’ve read Persepolis, but not heard of this one. I want to read all of Satrapi’s works too!

    • Jackie B December 24, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      I’m glad I’m not alone! I love the way she builds the world around the reader subtly. I take so much enjoyment from her works.

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