Can a book without any words, relying solely on the power of its art, properly convey a story to its reader? Are they going to be able to understand it?? These are the questions that I was asking myself when I placed The Arrival by Shaun Tan on the library’s “to get” list.
I had heard about Shaun Tan’s book from a couple of people who raved about its creativity and how expressive it was. I decided to take a chance.
I am SO GLAD that I did!!
This book is amazing. The story follows thestory of a family who are forced to leave their country because it isn’t safe anymore. However, they all can’t leave at the same time, so the father is forced to go over alone first to find employment in the new country.
The immigrants new country is completely strange to him. Nothing makes sense to him. The language is strange, the animals are strange, the food is strange. With the help of friendly strangers (all immigrants with their own stories about their arrival), he begins to put down roots.
This is just a wonderful story, and my rambling doesn’t do it justice. In order to really understand this book, you need to feel it. And Shaun Tan is a master at creating art that makes us feel. By not incorporating words, you become an immigrant as well, travelling from one known medium into a new medium of reading that is unlike anything you have ever experienced.
Don’t miss out on the experience.