Cover Image: Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave

Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave

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Member Reviews

Yann Damezin, your mind?????????? The tale of Majnun & Layla had been on my tbr for ages, and I'm glad I got to discover it through Damezin's unusual comic adaptation, his unforgettable style and phantasmagorical imagery. His version has an unexpected twist to its end that made me research Persian classic literature for a whole week. Mind blown.

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I think that to fully appreciate this work you have to be interested in folklore and myths in general.

I personally didn't know that story previous this first read and while I did get the overall plot, I had sometimes a hard time understaing it in fully.

I think that the best option was to already know the basic of the story and then dive into this colorful experience. The colors of the illustrations were in fact so bright and the art was overall my favorite part of this journey.

I think it was one of the most beautiful graphic novels I ever put my eyes on.

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What an amazing book! The intricate telling (and retelling and reclaiming) of the ancient love story, the gorgeous and glorious art, and the way the story puts love and devotion and the freedom of Men versus Women to love and mourn under the microscope was great. The art itself was enough to give this five stars but the story was just as beautiful.

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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a beautiful book!!

The illustrations are gorgeous. They're colorful and captivating. The story its self is tragic and unfolds in unexpected ways. It's a beautiful read to add to your collection and experience the story for yourself.

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A retelling of a 12th century Persian poem featuring some of the finest art ever to grace the pages of a graphic novel. The art perfectly encapsulates this fable-like epic, a masterpiece.

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The Tragic Story of Two Victims of Love

A story as old as time, one told among caravan travelers resting at oases in eons past, is that of star-crossed Persian lovers Qays and Layla—two young people so enamored with each other that their devastating story of passion, betrayal and death still resonates today in legends, songs, plays, and poems—an ancient version of Romeo and Juliet.

An accessible English version of this timeless, heartbreaking tale is now available by Award-winning Poet and Artist Yann Damezin entitled, “Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave,”

This is a powerfully majestic full-color illustrated book that is exquisite in its unique beauty, style and language. Damezin received the 2022 French Orange Prix award in recognition of his achievement in creating this masterpiece.

I’ve always longed to know the story made famous by rock music legend Eric Clapton in his song ‘Layla.’ As it turns out, Qays, the lad so in love with Layla that he was nicknamed, Majnun—The Madman—because he was so smitten. Eric Clapton, ironically, was at one time helplessly in love with another man’s wife—a modern day Majnun?

JoyReaderGirl1 graciously thanks NetGalley, Author and Artist Yann Damezin, and Publisher Life Drawn for this advanced reader’s copy (ARC) for review.

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A story that mixes love and spirituality, Sufism and love to the extreme. Great poetry and gorgeous design.
Loved it
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Gorgeous art to accompany the Persian poem. I love middle eastern/west Asian poetry. I wish there was more from Kuwait, but this was still lovely. Iran has such rich culture.

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The classic Persian poem of romance and tragedy captured as a sumptuous and richly colorful graphic novel, inspired by traditional art of the region.

Beautiful! The art was phenomenal and the translation was really well-done. I loved it!

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This was stunning! One of the most beautiful graphic novels I've read. Every page was splendid and the words were gorgeous. I loved reading the historic context behind the poem, too.

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I am not familiar with the original poem of Majnun and Layla, but this book is absolutely stunning! The art is just fantastic! I love the colors. The ending has a nice feminist message that I think is not part of the original poem - at least from what I gathered from the afterword, but I really liked the direction that it took after Majnun meets his fate. I want to look up the original poem so I can compare. However, this book stands on it's own and it totally worth it just for the art.

Thank you to Netgalley and Humanoids Inc. for providing a copy for review purposes.

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I received this e-arc copy in exchange for honest review.

I don't understand poetic narration but I understand this is such a beautiful retelling graphic story of the tale about Layla and Majnun. The narration was very carefully crafted and vividly describe scene after scene in the story of Layla and Majnun.

I was affected deeply into the desperation on Layla and the hopelessness on Majnun.

The illustration had this thing that made me crawl for more.

Nevertheless, since it was my first time reading this poetic kind story, let alone graphic novel, I might biased.

Thank you Netgalley for the e-ARC.

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Take a second to look at that cover. Now, prepare yourself for the inside to be even better. The artwork in this book is seriously stunning. The crisp, vibrant colors and bold, imaginative design bring the ancient story of Layla and Qay's tragic love to life on the page.

I was also surprised and moved by the middle and ending of this story. I went in expecting a Romeo and Juliette-type situation and was instead hit with some relatable feminist musings and a woman ultimately choosing herself.

"Her distress remained sealed in her soul.
For modesty and honor are a muzzle
with which man has covered the mouth of woman.
Alas! To whom could I confide my sorrow?
Becoming mad with love is a man's privilege!
My despair must remain underground
and even my pain must be frugal."

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is a beautiful book, the illustrations are so wonderful. This is the tragic love story of Qays ibn al-Moullawwah and Layla al-Amiriyyaa which is so famous around the literary world. Here, it is an English version of the poem Layla and Majnun by Nizami Ganjavi and not the original arab poem.
To be honest, I didn't like either the changes to the story or this English translation which changed completely the mood of the story or that ending for a femenist purpose.

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This book is illustrated beautifully. The artwork drew me in more than the story, which seemed somewhat fragmented. I give it three stars for the illustrations, but two for the story. I thank NetGalley and Humanoids, inc. for the advance read.

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Yann Damezin's "Majnun and Layla" is a retelling of the story of the titular protagonists. According to the cover, this retelling is based on the version by Nizami Ganjavi, who dedicated an epic poem to the lovers in the 12th century. Now, the English translation of the work that captivated many critics and readers in France is released.

The graphics, partly inspired by Persian miniatures, are breathtaking - each page is illustrated with great attention to detail. It's easy to understand why Yann Damezin received the Prix Orange de la BD. In contrast to his first black and white work, he employs colors skillfully, using their abundance to effectively convey the story and subtext to the reader.

I was somewhat less impressed with the English translation text. The original French is written in Alexandrines, and it is, after all, a "graphic poem." In my personal opinion, much of the rhythm and poetic language of the original was somewhat lost. To provide a concrete example:

At the beginning, Leyla's beauty is described as follows:

"Leïli, quant à elle, avait en héritage
Des paupières battant comme ailes de colombes
Des lèvres de rubis, la lune pour visage
Des collines pour seins, un val au creux des lombes
Son teint était si clair que, mis à son côté
Semblait sombre le lait que l’on venait de battre."

And in the English translation, one reads:

"Layla, for her part, received as inheritance
Eyelids that beat like the wings of a dove.
Lips of ruby and a face like the moon
Hills for breasts, a vale in the hollow of her loins
Her complexion was so clear that beside it
Freshly squeezed milk looked dark."

Overall, the text felt somewhat awkward to me at times, and I often couldn't understand why certain words were used, disrupting the flow of reading for me. In the afterword, it is mentioned that the translators "quasi-approximated in English pentameter" the Alexandrine verses - nevertheless, in my opinion, the rhythmic melody of the original isn't quite mirrored.

In the afterword, it is described that the book aligns itself with the Persian tradition of javab goi, where a modern artist engages in a dialogue with a predecessor, retelling and redesigning the work for a new world and audience. In this case, the very feminist ideas derived from Layla's contemplations are to be interpreted. I was at first somwhat surprised by the strong feminist tones considering that it is, after all, a retelling of a story from the Middle Ages. Overall, the character of Leyla had much more agency than one would expect, and Yann Damezin deliberately changed the ending to conclude the story from Leyla's perspective.

I would recommend the book in general, especially as a beautiful gift. I also appreciated the afterword and the glossary which explained some of the terms western readers might not be familiar with. Unfortunately, I have to deduct a few points due to the language (translation), which personally did not fully convince me.

I will definitely read more works by Yann Damezin. Thank you netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave by Yann Damezin is such a stunning illustrated edition of a Persian classic: it felt almost uncanny to be seeing the illustrations of this level on a digital screen and not behind a museum glass, on well-preserved old pages. A delightful edition that would be a great gift to those with interest in Persian culture.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for an early copy of this.

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I'm honestly blown away by how absolutely gorgeous this book was. Every page was breathtaking. There are literally no words to describe what I feel for this book. From the verses to the illustrations, everything was perfect. A feast for the eyes and the soul!

Thank you NetGalley and Humanoids Inc for the chance to read and review this book! I can't wait to see it on Comixology, and I will be buying my own hardcover when I can!

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A poetic and tragic love story beautifully illustrated on every page. It is heartwarming, haunting, and unforgettable. I can’t wait to display this book on my bookshelf.

Thank you to Netgalley and Humanoids Inc. for this ARC.

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