27 December 2009

Review: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The immigration story is universal and eternal. Shaun Tan's The Arrival tells that story in sepia-toned drawings and completely without words. The worlds Tan creates are at once utterly fanciful and utterly familiar.

A man leaves his wife and child, boards a steamer ship, and arrives at immigration in a new country. Lost, alone, and confused, the man slowly learns to cope and find a job. He makes friends and listens to their stories. Time passes, and he is finally able to send for his family.

That is the simple narration. The drawings fill in all rest.

This is a book I will look at time and time again. Whether you are living in the same house your ancestors built 500 years ago or you are the first person in your family to have been born in a new country, you will absolutely be amazed by this novel.

All images are from Shaun Tan's website.

The Arrival at Powell's
The Arrival at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by HarperCollins, 2007
ISBN 13: 9780439895293
Challenges: 100+
Source: Bought (see review policy)
YTD: 96
Rating: A


Marg 12/27/09, 6:10 AM  

I am so glad that you enjoyed this one! I know I have raved enough about it to anyone who will listen!

Ana S. 12/27/09, 7:29 AM  

I really ought to make "read Shaun Tan" one of New Year Resolutions! This sounds so amazing.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 12/27/09, 9:34 AM  

This book looks awesome---on my list it goes. Thanks Beth

Sandy Nawrot 12/27/09, 9:34 AM  

It is the story of so many of our forefathers. I must find this one.

Ann Summerville 12/27/09, 10:07 AM  

I stopped by your blog today - I'm always looking for new books for my book club and this sounds interesting - I love your restful blog picture. Thanks for sharing.

Marie Cloutier 12/27/09, 10:29 AM  

That looks wonderful- I'm going to have to look for it. I love immigration stories.

Unknown 12/27/09, 11:17 AM  

I so want to get hold of a copy of this one!

Molly 12/27/09, 12:09 PM  

I thought thought the illustrations were absolutely spectacular! I plan to use a few of them in my English class as "story starters" in a creative writing lesson.

Andi 12/27/09, 12:35 PM  

I had a lackluster reading year overall, but this one is listed as one of my faves I read in 2009. I just loved Tan's illustrations, and I'm fascinated by wordless picture books in general. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! If you haven't already, try Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia. It has words, but it's just as clever and beautifully illustrated.

Vasilly 12/27/09, 1:52 PM  

I am so glad you enjoyed this book. Tan is so talented and I've loved all that I've read by him. Andi's right, Tales from Outer Surburbia is just as good as this one if not better.

bermudaonion 12/27/09, 2:59 PM  

Those illustrations are stunning! I think I'd enjoy this one since I'm just second generation American.

Carrie K. 12/27/09, 3:14 PM  

I really need to see if my library has this! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Beth. :)

Stephanie 12/27/09, 3:33 PM  

I enjoyed your concise, beautifully written review. The illustrations in this book look gorgeous.

Beth Kephart 12/27/09, 4:50 PM  

I have read about this book and about this author. I want to find it now. Thank you for this beautiful, simple review.

Aarti 12/27/09, 5:29 PM  

This looks gorgeous! Thanks for the heads up :-)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 12/27/09, 7:07 PM  

How did you hear of this book? It's new-to-me, and sounds fascinating; love that the story is told so much in pictures.

And the first line of your review is striking ... like the opening to a documentary!

Julie P. 12/27/09, 8:42 PM  

This sounds like an incredibly powerful book. Like Dawn, I wonder how it came on your radar!

Jenners 12/27/09, 8:59 PM  

Sounds fascinating ... and I've always enjoyed immigrant stories for some reason. They are very compelling.

nat @book, line, and sinker 12/27/09, 9:12 PM  

i love the images you put up--i'm going to the author's website to get more information on this book! thanks for reviewing it; i'm going to mention it to a friend of mine who teaches history for her unit on immigrants.

chrisa511 12/27/09, 10:18 PM  

I'm so glad you enjoyed it Beth :D Wasn't it just beautiful? I can't even imagine the time that he put into this one!

Rebecca Johnson 12/28/09, 3:36 AM  

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Isn't it just wonderful? I absolutely adored it.

Beth F 12/28/09, 7:26 AM  

Dawn and Julie: I can't remember the exact details but my discovery of Tan went something like this:

Darren from Bart's Bookshelf mentioned two Tan books and linked to Chris from Stuff As Dreams Are Made On. I discovered Tan and immediately bought 2 books.

Then realized that Marg, Nymeth, Alea, Vasilly, and others were fans. Once I saw Tan's artwork, I knew I had to own his books.

Margot 12/28/09, 12:42 PM  

The drawings are amazing as is the website. Now I have to find these books too.

Dorte H 12/28/09, 4:21 PM  

This one sounds good, and the illustrations are really very appealing.

Michelle 12/29/09, 9:54 AM  

This was a beautiful piece of art wasn't it? I really enjoyed the otherworldly feel to it while it still portrayed an issue of modern life.

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