The Arrival by Shaun Tan

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By Shaun Tan, Arthur A. Levine Books, Hardcover, 128 pages

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a wordless "graphic novel" highlighting an immigrant man's journey told through an imaginary world. The book is 128 pages long and divided into six chapters; it is composed of small, medium, and large panels, and often features full pages of artwork.

The man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.

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.

About the author:

Shaun Tan (born 1974) is the illustrator and author of award-winning children's books. After freelancing for some years from a studio at Mt. Lawley, Tan relocated to Melbourne, Victoria in 2007. Tan was the Illustrator in Residence at the University of Melbourne's Department of Language Literacy and Arts Education for two weeks through an annual Fellowship offered by the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust. 2009 World Fantasy Award for Best Artist. In 2011 he won his first Oscar in the Category Best Short Animated Film for his work The Lost Thing.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Arrival by Shaun Tan