I am so grateful to those of you who recommended I read a book by Shaun Tan and, in particular, The Arrival. I sat out under a tree for a couple of hours just absorbing this book. I read the whole book three times and some parts several more times. That’s a lot of reading for a book with no words.
I decided to go get my camera and take some pictures so I could share it with you. I don’t believe I have adequate words to describe this book, I can only give you an outline.
I’ll save the rest of the story for you to experience. One more thing I want to share is the end-papers. Here is just a small sample. This is a big book and both front and back end-papers are covered with these portraits of all the various immigrants. Aren’t the drawings amazing? They are so intricate, they feel like photos.
In the back of the book the author acknowledged that inspiration for the story came from his father who immigrated to Australia in 1960. Mr. Tan has talked with many other immigrants and done numerous hours of research.
Shaun Tan’s decision to do the story without text was a conscious one. He said, “My interest as an artist has been to dislocate the reader in order to better explore the idea of being an immigrant within a foreign culture.” Well, for me, he succeeded. I was dislocated but I was also mesmerized. I now wholeheartedly recommend this book to you.
I found a copy at the public library but it’s also available at Amazon.