A review by Shellie for: The Arrival ~ (a wordless novel) by Shaun Tan
With realistic and lovely pictures, done in shades of sepia and greys, this graphic novel - without words – is a speculative representation of the immigrant experience.
About: This is a graphic novel told only in shaded colorless pictures, with contrasting elements colored in cool for darker aspects of the journey and warm for happier. It is a book for everyone but especially children; it tells of the many difficulties, complications, and of course the joys of the universal experience when immigrating from one country to another. With realistic pictures contrasted with fantastical images it mixes the familiar with the alien, which is a metaphor for the immigrant experience. It is realistic yet speculative in nature.
Thoughts: This book has gorgeous drawings showing the main characters experiencing a range of emotions when arriving in a place completely different from their known home. It shows the difficulties of trying to communicate without knowledge of the new language, the sorrow felt when separated from family members, and of course the inevitable fear of the unknown. With images which are fantastical it is easy for a young person to relate to the “alien” feel when arriving in a different country.
Apparently, the author spent 5 years researching the book in his attempt to show the “universality of the immigrant experience”. With its pictures it “translates” for the reader in a way that is understood without language; It’s the first book I can remember “reading” that does not have words. With its talented artist/author, I recommend it highly for use in classrooms as well as homes, where an explanation is needed for around experiencing different cultures. This is a lovely and important book which I liked a lot; I’d give it 3.5 stars.
The Arrival was borrowed from our local library. We love ours, support yours!
It will be include in the Graphics Novel Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge, The Basics Challenge, and New Author Challenge.
Thanks for reading.