The ArrivalThe Arrival, the newest book by Shaun Tan, tells the the familiar story of an immigrant in an intriguing new way.  Conveyed entirely in detailed drawings which look like sepia-toned, worn photographs, this book feels like paging through an old photo album without the aid of captions or notes.  We follow the immigrant as he packs a small bag, says a heartbreaking goodbye to his wife and small daughter, and boards a steamer ship along with hundreds of others to reach a new land.  The new city is at once recognizable and surreal and recalls the halls and images of Ellis Island and New York City.

Since the immigrant is unable to communicate with words in his new land, The Arrival also forgoes using any recognizable text.  To communicate with the inhabitants of this new land, the immigrant uses a picture dictionary and drawings, and along the way meets with both confusion and unlikely friendships.  The stories of the other immigrants are also conveyed with flashback drawings, all of which combine to create a powerful, resonant, and imaginative experience.

For more on Shaun Tan, visit his site

  • Posted by Cori Ashley

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