The Arrival by Shaun Tan

the-arrival9Before I even mention the content, let it be noted that The Arrival is a beautiful object. It is a tall book with an indented cover and a golden ribbon. It feels like an important book, and it is.

This wordless graphic novel depicts a migrant’s journey from home and family to an unfamiliar land. It is a universal story, made new by sepia pencil and Tan’s extraordinary imagination.

Unique architecture, language, creatures and modes of transport¬†challenge the arrival as he seeks a place to stay and employment. I found the panels that ‘zoomed out’ gradually from close detail to a vast landscape particularly effective.

The ‘silence’ of wordlessness gives extensive potential for personal interpretations. My partner, a former student of international politics, found in it metaphors for global dominance and subordinated nations. It is also the story of a person trying to belong and make a home. It has the depth of a novel. It is timeless.

Visit Shaun Tan’s website to see more stunning images, or get your hands on a copy to see them in their full glory.

Have you read it? What did you think? I’ve only read a few graphic novels, are there any others that you would recommend? Comments please!

 

the-arrival

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Arrival by Shaun Tan

  1. Colin

    Yes! This book is in my top 5 ever! I think it captures the feeling of immigration perfectly.

    Like

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