‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan ****

Let us begin with the wealth of praise for Shaun Tan’s graphic novel, The Arrival:

  • “Tan’s lovingly laid out and masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told.” — Art Spiegelman, author of Maus
  • “An absolute wonder.” — Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis
  • “A magical river of strangers and their stories!” — Craig Thompson, author of Blankets
  • “A shockingly imaginative graphic novel that captures the sense of adventure and wonder that surrounds a new arrival on the shores of a shining new city. Wordless, but with perfect narrative flow, Tan gives us a story filled with cityscapes worthy of Winsor McCay.” — Jeff Smith, author of Bone
  • “Shaun Tan’s artwork creates a fantastical, hauntingly familiar atmosphere… Strange, moving, and beautiful.” — Jon J. Muth, Caldecott Medal-winning author of Zen Shorts
  • “Bravo.” — Brian Selznick, Caldecott Medal-winning author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • “Magnificent.” — David Small, Caldecott Medalist

9780439895293The lovely sepia-toned illustrations in The Arrival are so detailed that they resemble photographs.  One can pore over them for an awfully long time, and still find new elements.  Tan wonderfully evokes the immigrant experience, and does so solely through the use of his artwork – no mean feat. It is a beautiful, strange, and mesmerising book, which shows a bewildering journey to an unknown land, and the importance of family.

The elements of magical realism are enjoyable, and Tan clearly has a great imagination.  It has been quite some time since I last read a book with no words whatsoever, but doing so was rather a lovely experience, it must be said.  The Arrival is not quite a favourite – Brian Selznick has spoilt me, I think – but it is a book which I will certainly be recommending.

Purchase from The Book Depository

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