The Arrival: power without words

arrivalThe Arrival, by Shaun Tan, is the wordless story of a man who leaves his home and emigrates to a new country. So simple, so universal, but the reader wonders: is it history? Science fiction? Fantasy? Fable? What are these strange machines and bizarre creatures? How will the man survive in this weird new world, and how do the stories of other immigrants weave with his?

This book will take you maybe 20 minutes to read, but you will want to go back and reread it a few more times to really appreciate the artwork. And if you know anyone who’s new to this country, this would make the perfect gift.


4 thoughts on “The Arrival: power without words”

  1. This looks stunning! And it looks like it ties in with the immigrant experience discussion I’ve already started having with folks after reading The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears as part of Seattle reads. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  2. This book keeps raking in awards, too, including awards for teens (Best Books for Young Adults, top 10 list for 2008) and children (ALA Notable Books list), as well as for adults (just saw that it was nominated for a Hugo). I’m curious what you think about the book’s appeal for different ages? Also, I came across an interesting interview with Tan about this book as well as his artwork in general.

  3. This is a truly amazing book that makes the immigrant experience vivid in a way that words cannot. You will empathize with the protagonist’s confusion and wonder. I agree that you want to go back and keep re-reading it. I’ve had a copy out of the library for a week or more, and can’t bring myself to return it. It’s actually catalogued as a young adult book, but I’m not sure why, as it seems like a book that is equally well-suited to adults.

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