A Review: “The Arrival”

The Arrival – Illustrated and written by Shaun Tan, October, 2007
Graphic Novel

A story about immigration (not just migrants, but migrants fleeing oppression – a constant theme in the world) and family. The artist’s notes say it took him 4 years to draw the illustrations. Every panel is a work of art, and  his montages create the amazing effect of either suspending a moment or creating a chaotic urgency.

Some pages of panels show beautiful interludes:  a study in cloud forms – whimsical, while creating the feeling of loneliness and distance; the morphing of plants, indicating the change of seasons and passing of time; the gorgeous, intricate portraits of faces encountered on a journey.

“Read” the narrative, but stop and look at the incredible craft of Shaun Tan’s art as well.


(Image: ‘Dinner’ pencil on paper. From http://www.shauntan.net/books/the-arrival.html)

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