24 July, 2014

Book Review: The Arrival

From Goodreads: In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he's leaving home to build a better future for his family.
Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy.


Thoughts: Shaun Tan is fabulous. His ability to tell a full and emotive story suing pictures is bought to the fore in this book. The Arrival is a graphic novel without words, but at no stage are you left wondering what the story is about, what emotions the characters are feeling and why they are making the decisions they do.

The Suitcase - Shaun Tan

The Old Country - Shaun Tan

Telling the story of a man who leaves his family and journeys to a new country in search of a better life, Tan illustrates the strangeness of a new place, where nothing looks familiar and there are so many things you don't understand.

Freshman Monroe Scholars

The Market - Shaun Tan
Yet people are met, stories shared and you realise you are not the only one to have struggled in this new environment.

Columbus State University Unfamiliar Genre Wiki - Graphic Novels
Friends are made,
Dinner - Shaun Tan
families reunited,


Josephine Zupan's English 4561 E-Folio
and all without the reader having read a single word.

This book is so rich. You could easily spend a couple of hours pouring over the illustrations, looking at the detail and delighting at the story.

Shaun Tan explains some of the inspiration and processes behind The Arrival on this page. You will need to scroll down past the pictures to read the article. 

This book also fits into my 100 Best Book List Challenge, covering the Young Adult category.

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