Monday, April 21, 2008

Shaun Tan/THE ARRIVAL



The Arrival is a graphic novel about a man who immigrates to a strange new place--a VERY strange new place.

While on one level the man's experiences mirror those of any normal immigrant--leaving his family behind, finding a job, learning a new language--all of these elements are given a kind of fantastical twist. His new country is a landscape of conical shapes and sunburst designs. The animals are strange and the food looks wholly unappetizing (think tentacles). And the other immigrants have odd stories to tell about their pasts, including one man's tale of running away from gigantic exterminators.

I love this book because the pictures are beautiful and because it gave me a new look at the hardships immigrants face. It was fun to discover the new country's strange elements along with the man. I was also suprised at how much I felt myself connecting with the feelings of the different characters--the perplexed immigrant, the worried wife left behind, the people who escaped from nightmare conditions, and the family reunited.

5 comments:

angelle said...

thanks for this review. i saw this book featured on nymag. it seemed really intriguing and the pictures beautiful. might have to pick it up someday and thumb through it at the book store..

Cheryl said...

It's great because you can flip through and get the main ideas, or you can sit and have a good time studying all the cool details of the setting.

ChrisEldin said...

I would probably like this book very much. I'm reading "Dragon Wings" right now by Lawrence Yep. It won the Newbery Honor.
Would you say it's similar, if you've read Dragon Wings?

Cheryl said...

I haven't read Dragon Wings. The Arrival doesn't have any words, though, so that may be one difference. (Unless Dragon Wings is the same way?)

Jae Leslie said...

oh yikes! i can't remember why i ordered this one, but i just read this. twice. and then read it aloud with my spouse, which since there aren't any words in it, was the kind of reading you do with a very small child and a picture book. although i was really kind of choked up by the end. but the story is one of the most beautiful i have seen in a long time. just took it back to the public library. get it!