August 11th, 2008


(no subject)

Excuse me for a moment. I have to rabidly recommend a book to everyone.

It is The Arrival, by Shaun Tan.

This book is strictly words whatsoever. All the INCREDIBLY OUTSTANDING artwork is done in squares of soft grays and sepias, to mimic the look of old photographs. It, quite simply, shows us the story of a young man leaving his family and emigrating to another country (strongly suggested to be the US), and his experiences in the journey, gaining citizenship, and settling into this utterly foreign world. He meets and befriends other immigrants throughout the book, each of whom shares the tale of their journey.

What makes the book extraordinary is that that it seeks to share the immigrant's disorientation and unfamiliarity with his new world with the reader. Each and every aspect of the experience that one of us might find visually familiar (written language, telephones, pets, the Statue of Liberty) has been replaced with a new creation...unfamiliar scripts, alien creatures, fantastic methods of conveyance. As the main character adjusts to his new life, you are exactly as lost as he is, and must learn as you go.

I found it in Third Place today, flipped through it for 5 seconds, and was utterly sold. I read it in about an hour and cried, which never happens to me. It joins The Time Traveler's Wife as one of the extremely rare books (5-8 in total, maybe) that I would rate as a perfect, perfect 10.
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