Wordless Wonder

The Arrival by Shaun Tan ★★★★★

This wordless graphic novel is an absolute jewel. It tells the tale of a man who emigrates to another land, leaving behind his wife and young daughter. When he arrives in a strange city on board a ship along with hundreds of other travellers,
he encounters a surprising and mysterious cityscape beyond the harbour. The immigrants are taken through a place
very much like Ellis island, and once having been processed through all the proper bureaucratic channels, our hero lands in a dwelling with mysterious apparatus where a friendly and bizarre creature starts showing him around. Everything is different in this new place, from the writing to the cityscapes, to the methods of transportation, the plants, the food and the many creatures that accompany everyone. Only the people look like regular humans, but otherwise this might as well be another planet. The countless exquisite illustrations tell the story of what it feels like to be a stranger in a different country with a completely unfamiliar culture, where even the simplest things are incomprehensible
to a newcomer. Wonderfully imaginative, the whole book—including the blank pages—
is a work of art. It’s one of my all-time favourites already.

This review can also be found on LibraryThing.


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