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 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.
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.