Have you read Shaun Tan’s The Arrival yet?
No? Well, stop right now and go read it. It won’t take that long because there are actually no words. The Arrival is Tan’s brilliant graphic novel comprised solely of gorgeous artwork.
The artwork reminds me of Brian Selznick, the man behind Hugo and Wonderstruck, although Tan has done what I want Selznick to do – don’t give me any text when your artwork is that strong.
The Arrival is about a man who leaves his family and the terrible conditions in which they live to try to build a better life for them in a world where things are so unfamiliar to him.
To really make you feel what an immigrant feels, Tan has this man go to a world that is unbelievable. The animals are like creatures from a fantasy novel. The written language looks like the images seen inside the great pyramids. The architecture is odd and different throughout the whole city.
At first it seems like this man is dreaming because this place can’t be real, but this is exactly what an immigrant must feel going to a new country. Everything would be different, confusing, and, on some level, magical.
Trying to find his way through this new place, this man meets many other people who help him and we learn about their stories and how they came to be in this new place.
I can’t even tell you how beautiful this book is. The artwork is one thing, but the message here is really eye opening. This is the immigrant experience. Wonderful.