Graphic Novel Review: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Title: The Arrival
Author:  Shaun Tan
Art by: Shaun Tan
Published: 2007
Genre: Graphic Novel

Synopsis: 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.

My Rating: 8igbk4dbt8igbk4dbt8igbk4dbt8igbk4dbt 1/2

This is such a beautiful piece of art. In this wordless book, Shaun Tan vividly shows what it is like to be an immigrant, how alien a world you’re not familiar with looks like and how alienating it can feel. The art is simply beautiful and once you read it, it makes sense in context.

We follow the journey of a man who leaves his wife and daughter behind in search of a better life for them and he takes a sea voyage to arrive to this massive, bustling and strange city. There he understands nothing, not the words, not the street signs, not the people and that barrier of communication is masterfully shown in Tan’s wonderful pictures. We follow his journey as he meets other people and they too have tales to tell of where they came from and how they have found a better life for themselves.

It was an incredible read, take your time with the frames because much of the art conveys more than words ever could. This is an adult picture book but it can also easily be a child’s book at the same time.


3 thoughts on “Graphic Novel Review: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

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