alice grass

The Arrival by Shaun Tan- Graphic Novel Review

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I love graphic novels... especially really unique ones.  The Arrival's art work is amazing.  Some of the best I have ever seen in a graphic novel.  There are no words in the book, you simply follow the pictures along and form the story in your mind.  Here is the goodreads description:

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.  

I thought this book was just wonderful.  The illustrations are just must style.  Very whimsical.  They are made with pencil. When I first read it I thought I was just going to fly through and look at all the pictures.  I really had to slow down though and look at each picture to figure out the story. As the book goes on I figured out that this was the story of a man who went to a new town and had to find a way to live there and get his family there.   The man learns how to buy food, find shelter, learn how to communicate with people who clearly don't speak his language.

When I first read the story I did not read the description (I never do) so I had no idea it was about immigrants.  Everything in the book was new to me and I had to figure it out on my own journey. Tan does an amazing job of making me feel like I am new to a world.  I don't speak the language, I don't know where to go or how to find work.  I really felt this way. Honestly I am surprised I didn't hear about The Arrival sooner.

The deluxe edition is so exquisite! I wish this is the version I would've been able to read.

Apparently there is also a Broadway type show of this graphic novel too over in Australia where Shaun Tan is from.  I really wish I could watch this show.  There is a lot of puppetry in it. 

 Really if you just want to read something that is different then probably anything you have looked at or read before pick this up.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised and even moved by this book.  I am going to look into more of Shaun Tan's work now.  Just fantastic!

The crystal ball says:

Sun is shinning!!!  Great day to go outside and read this book.


  1. Geez, it sure does give a new meaning to graphic novel. What a creative and refreshing way to tell a story...thanks for the review. I'm looking it up.

    1. Honestly I think everyone should sit down and look at this book. When I first started reading graphic novels I stuck to DC and Marvel. Then I started hearing about all these artful unique books. So glad I discovered them!

  2. This one has been on my Wish list and TBR list for ages and I think I will go pick it up now!

  3. Wow, I love the deluxe edition! This was my first experience with a graphic novel and I'm definitely going to be looking at more after reading this one.

    1. Thanks again for introducing me to this book!!! If it weren't for you I would never have found it.

  4. Wow, so beautiful! I especially love the animals in the pictures. And I'd love to see the show too!!


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