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Tales from Outer Suburbia

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,831 Ratings  ·  933 Reviews
Do you remember the water buffalo at the end of our street?

Or the deep-sea diver we found near the underpass?

Do you know why dogs bark in the middle of the night?

Shaun Tan, creator of The Arrival, The Lost Thingand The Red Tree, reveals the quiet mysteries of everyday life: homemade pets, dangerous weddings, stranded sea mammals, tiny exchange students and secret rooms fil
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published June 2008 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 08, 2009 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kiddiwinx, hey-shorty
is this really for children?? are children really this sad and dark and complicated emotionally?? i dont know, but i know that this book is outstanding. i think in a way it is harder to tell a story without words, like the arrival, but this shows that he is also an exceptional word-story-teller. and i am an exceptional word-hyphen-stringer.
Jan 08, 2009 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the face of it, I’m an inadequate reviewer for Shaun Tan. When you review a book for kids, what do you do? You take that little book, you pick apart its layers (if you’re lucky enough to find any), then you box up each and every one of those layers, a paragraph apiece, and voila! Instant review. Having a format to follow makes everything so simple. It’s as if you’re simply filling in the blanks on a Mad Libs sheet. "Pronoun has written an adjective book that will adverb verb you each and ever ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Neva rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Extremely beautiful. Leaves you with a pretty clear feeling of why and how love, poetry and understanding are basically the same thing. (Although "to leave" cannot be less appropriate for a book that so much stays with you.)

Read it 10 times and 10 times fell in love.
Petya Kokudeva
May 21, 2016 Petya Kokudeva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
В една любима книга - The Gift - авторът Lewis Hyde казва така: “Прекосяването на мистерия винаги освежава. Ако, докато работите, можете поне веднъж на ден да се натъкнете на лицето на някоя мистерия, работенето ще си е заслужавало.”
Шон Тан е именно енигматик. Преди години, когато за първи път гледах късометражния му филм “The Lost Thing” (и се разбръмчах да открия повече от този автор), си казах: “Брех, не разбирам нищо и разбирам всичко?!” Толкова ми харесва да обитавам и да анализирам това ч
Nabila Tabassum Chowdhury
Jul 06, 2016 Nabila Tabassum Chowdhury rated it it was amazing

ছোট ছোট টা গলপ। লেখার মাধযমে গলপ বলা, ছবির মাধযমে গলপ বলা। ছবি এখানে অকসিলারী নয় বরং সমান গুরুতবপূরণ। কোনো কোনো কষেতরে অধিক গুরুতবপূরণ।

কোথাও এক জায়গায় পড়েছিলাম পৃথিবীর সকল গলপ বলা শেষ, নতুন গলপ বলা সমভব নয়। হয়তো তাই। তবে অবশযই এবং অতি অবশযই নতুনভাবে বলা সমভব। যাদু বাসতবতার পরয়োগ মনে হয় একষেতরে খুব কাজে আসে, একটা গলপকে সমপূরণ ফরেশ মনে হয়। যে অনুভূতির কথা বলা হয়েছে অসংখযবার, সেই অনুভূতিই এমন কিছু থেকে উৎসারিত হয়ে, এমন ভাবে উঠে আসে যেভাবে আর কখনই আসেনি। তখন হয়তো সে অনুভূতির সাথে পূর
Johara Almogbel
May 08, 2014 Johara Almogbel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Johara by: Noura
There's something about Shaun Tan's books that are so ethereal and otherworldly it's like sitting at the edge of a very high cliff and quietly watching the clouds as they move past your feet. Tales from Outer Suburbia is no different, and it's like I want to absorb the book into my skin.

That sounds weird. I can't explain it. I just want to.

So very obviously definitely recommended.
Emm ☿ Synklaire
You are now checking out of the library...
Stunning, poetic, beautiful... tell me a synonym that hasn't already been used to describe Outer Suburbia, with its kindly monsters, strangers in diving suits, and bewildered people searching for their purpose. It's only absurd on the outside. ;)

Shaun Tan is an artistic genius. I have no idea how he does it, it's a secret known only to the little dream creatures, but somehow he takes a simple, strange idea. One idea. And turns it into something that is r
Христо Блажев
Приказки от крайните квартали, където виреят чудеса:

Кратки, наситени разкази – някои са илюстрирани с големи, хубави картини, в други текстът се разпада в илюстрациите и може да се пренареди в комбинация, която читателят сам насочва. Лабиринт от възможности, които само прецизен превод – Нева Мичева, и талантлив художник – Кирил Златков, могат да пресъградят на български език. Това не е книга, която се превежда механично и се хвърля на рафта в книжарницата
Gergana Dimitrova
Jun 01, 2016 Gergana Dimitrova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Поезия от крайните квартали

Четенето задоволява всички сетива. Поне на някои книги. Слушаш шума от разгръщането на страниците, усещаш миризмата на хартията и мастилото, докосваш корицата и пръстите ти проследяват лекото изпъкване на лака, разположен върху заглавието и някои малки детайли (не върху цялото), дланите ти се плъзгат гладко по страниците, ако е избрана гланцирана хартия, или по-бавно, скърцайки, ако е обемна. Някои даже опитват всичко това как е и на вкус.
И все пак зрението си остава н
Maggie Stiefvater
In the spirit of honesty, I have to admit that I was already biased to like this book because of my intense love for Shaun Tan's The Arrival. I was hoping this book, which unlike the wordless THE ARRIVAL pairs words and art, would live up to his previous work.

The answer is an unabashed yes. Inside TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA is a collection of related short stories that explore the absurdity, sadness, and joy of suburban life (in this case, Australian suburban life). As always, Tan's art is fille
May 22, 2016 Temz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Тези 15 кратки разказа не подлежат на еднозначно дешифриране. Те се разпадат и следват собствена логика, собствена стълбица на смисъла.
Това, същото това съзнание, което доскоро е било отстоянието от света, собствената мяра за нещата, рухва и се възражда като фрагмент от нещо, в което писателят те включва, създава те и те оставя да се доразвиеш.
May 27, 2016 Жор rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Фантастично илюстрирана и невероятно разказана.
Aneliya Petrunova
Шон Тан е за деца.
Шон Тан е за възрастни.
Шон Тан е магия.
Шон Тан е красота.
Шон Тан е поезия.
Шон Тан те изстрелва в детството и не ти се излиза оттам. Гледаш и четеш, четеш и гледаш, смееш се, затваряш очи, спомняш си, става ти мило.

"Приказки от крайните квартали" е шедьовър, който трябва да се преживее лично - виртуозен превод (браво, Нева и Манол!) и виртуозна визуална адаптация (браво на Кирил Златков!), простичко и красиво разказани истории, които те уцелват право в сърцето. За любовта, самот
Apr 22, 2016 Tilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What makes me really impressed about all of Shaun Tans work so far is the way how he connects bizarre settings with unknown creatures with everyday situations or sophisticated themes. "Eric" and "Grandpas Story" were my two favorites but I enjoyed all the stories within the book, they were all very thought-provoking and had interesting themes. The only reason why I gave this one "only" 4 of 5 stars was that Id like to see even more pictures because the text was also good but the emotional expres ...more
S. Wilson
Dec 24, 2008 S. Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To say that Shaun Tan has switched gears with his newest book is an understatement. Tales from Outer Suburbia differs from The Arrival as greatly as Maus differs from Mars Needs Moms. Tan has shifted from a silent and captivating depiction of the displacement and wonder felt by a family of immigrants, to a collection of endearing short stories about the bizarre happenings in a quaint little town. The good news is that neither the art nor storytelling has suffered from the transition. The art is ...more
May 27, 2016 Kalina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
May 27, 2016 Lubomira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Красива книга! "Напоителна", както обича да казва една приятелка. От онези, в които като че ли докосваш непознато, а инак ясно ти до болка човешко. Което се таи и в теб и не загасва дори сред непрестанния тих стремеж на ежедневието да притъпи сетивата ни за това, за което сме тук. Всъщност тези "крайни квартали" ни водят насам. За да търсим и намираме радост от срещите, от различното помежду ни, от местата, които докосваме. Те са като едно пламъче, което мъждука нейде в/пред/отвъд нас и ни напра ...more
Иванка Могилска
Може да се каже, че сме се нанесли в крайна квартал на едно малко градче. Ако мине човек покрай нашето бунгало, няма да го види, ще си помисли, че зад дърветата има само пущинак. И по-добре.
От пролетния панаир на книгата насам нося с мен "Приказки от крайните квартали" на Шон Тан и днес им дойде времето. Много нежна книга. Ако се опрете само на здравия си разум, ще я прочетете, ще я разгледате и ще си кажете "И какво? Това ли беше?". Затова, ако нямате море пред вас, поседнете до морето във вас
Jackie "the Librarian"
I really liked this one, but not everyone will. The tales are the epitome of quirky, with secret poetry gathering like a snowball into an enormous ball in the sky, leaf-like exchange students, and instructions on making your own pet. I liked visiting this strange, enchanting world, where water buffalos point you in the right direction.

In one story (chosen at random), a dugong just APPEARS on the lawn of number 17, where before all anyone noticed was all the shouting and crashing going on inside
Jigar Brahmbhatt
Out of all these surreal, sleepy tales "Stick Figures" was the most affecting to me. It appeals to the humane sensitivity of the reader, where in a single stroke of imaginative manipulation another layer of meaning is overlay-ed on what has surpassed. Good stories don't just pay off, they deepen the mystery.
May 27, 2016 NeDa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 29
От ревюто на друг читател видях, че е поставена на shelf "important".
Там ѝ е мястото!
Matti Karjalainen
Törmäsin Shaun Tanin nimeen ensimmäistä kertaa tämän nettisivun kautta, kun "Etäisten esikaupunkien asioita" (Lasten keskus, 2015) alkoi kerätä ylistäviä neljän ja viiden tähden arvioita, mutta syytän tästä myös huonoa yleissivistystäni. Meriittilistalta löytyy nimittäin monenlaista palkintoa, alkaen vuonna 2011 voitetusta Oscarista lähtien.

"Etäisten esikaupunkien asioita" on hämmentävä kokoelma pieniä ja absurdeja tarinoita, jotka sijoittuvat amerikkalaista nukkumalähiötä muistuttavaan paikkaan
Feb 16, 2015 Licha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars

You really must suspend disbelief in order to appreciate this book. So at first, I allowed myself to try and go with wherever this might take me. The further I read though, I had to scracth my head and say "Huh?". There's got to be some kind of sense to what someone writes, even if it's fantasy or magic or surreal or crazy. I kept wondering how the author even thought this was actual storytelling. Does he really think someone might enjoy this? The stories in this book make NO SENSE! Dif
Elīna Jurberga
visbrīnišķīgākā grāmata, kādu pēdējā laikā esmu lasījusi. turklāt, neesmu pārliecināta vai šīs grāmatas auditorija tiešām ir bērni, jo mani kā pieaugušo tā uzrunāja spēcīgi un nelika pat ne uz mirkli atcerēties, ka šī taču ir bērnu grāmata. ne miņas no bērnu grāmatu klišejām un vienkāršības.
daudzveidība kā tekstā, tā ilustrācijās, kas liek uz pasaules taisnībām, netaisnībām un noslēpumiem paskatīties detalizētāk, atvērtākām acīm. turklāt visu paspilgtina brīnišķīgais tulkojums un pasakainās ilus
Dec 04, 2012 Parka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-books

More pictures at

I bought this book thinking it was an art book, but it's not. Tales From Outer Suburbia is more of an illustrated story book containing 15 short fantasy stories. And it's a children's book, but more for those above 12 year old because some of the stories are, well, very surreal. It's the surrealism of the illustrations that really caught my attention.

Shaun Tan has a knack of storytelling mixing illustrations and words. He would sometimes end a story arc with a two
Markku Kesti
Ehkä neljä tähteä. Vaikea sanoa. Välillä viiden tähden helmiä ja hienoja kuvituksia ja näppäriä taittoratkaisuja. Välillä vain outoja juttuja. Tai sitten jotain ihan muuta. Sopii yhtä huonosti viiden vanhalle kuin happiteltassa makaavalle ikivanhukselle. Aikuisille kirjoitettu lastenkirja tai lapsille kirjoitettu aikuisten kirja. Typerä, mutta ihastuttava. Pönttö, mutta näppärä. Omituinen, mutta liikuttava. Kummallinen, mutta epäpersumainen. Ei mitään tolkkua kenelle tämä sopii, enkä ole edes ih ...more
این هم مثل سایر کتاب های شان تن عالی بود. این کتاب مجموعه داستان بود. بعضی از داستان هاش فوق العاده بودن. بعضی هاشون معمولی تر بودن. ولی همه شون، اون حس و حال عجیب و غریب مخصوص شان تن رو داشتن.

نکته ی مهم راجع به این کتاب اینه که این، به خلاف دو کتاب دیگه ای که ازش خوندم
(The Rabbits و Arrival)
بیشترش متنه و تصویرها، فقط مکمل هستن. به خلاف اون دوتا که یکیشون اصلاً متن نداشت و اون یکی، تلفیقی از متن و تصویر بود.

به هر حال، تجربه ی خوبی با کتاب های این مرد داشتم. اگه کتاب های بیشتری ازش پیدا کردم، با
Bistra Ivanova
wow, it arrived today and i totally fell in love and i think it's the best book ever! we'll see how the writing is


i read it as slowly as possible because i didn't want it to end
it official - that's the best book i have and -- well, i have some really nice books

i'm looking forward for more shaun tan because he's great!
"The novelty of our adventure was wearing thin, but not because our feet hurt and we were constantly blaming each other for the forgotten sunscreen. There was some other thing that we could not clearly explain. The farther we ventured, the more everything looked the same, as if each new street, park, or shopping mall was simply another version of our own, made from the same giant assembly kit. Only the names were different."

That quote (at least I'm pretty sure that's the one) appears at the begi
Teodora Kasabova
Признавам си, че съотношението книга - цена ми беше малко трудно за преглъщане. Сигурно звучи много меркантилно, но това е истината. И го казвам от позицията на човек, който харчи пари за книги.
Както и да е. Щом съм взела решението да я купя, значи съм преценила ситуацията и съм щастлива да кажа, че не останах разочарована.
Обичам този сборник с разкази. Кратките истории на Шон Тан ми влезнаха под кожата.
Толкова са красиви и някак сюрреалистични. Разказите са кратки и толкова емоционално насит
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Book Review 1 1 15 Aug 03, 2014 03:40PM  
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Shaun Tan (born 1974) is the illustrator and author of award-winning children's books. After freelancing for some years from a studio at Mt. Lawley, Tan relocated to Melbourne, Victoria in 2007. Tan was the Illustrator in Residence at the University of Melbourne's Department of Language Literacy and Arts Education for two weeks through an annual Fellowship offered by the May Gibbs Children’s Liter ...more
More about Shaun Tan...

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“It's funny how these days, when every household has its own inter-continental ballistic missile, you hardly even think about them. . . . A lot of us, though, have started painting the missiles different colors, even decorating them with our own designs, like butterflies or stenciled flowers. They take up so much space in the backyard, they might as well look nice, and the government leaflets don't say that you have to use the paint they supply.” 17 likes
“Have you ever wondered
What happens to all the
poems people write?
The poems they never
let anyone else read?
Perhaps they are
Too private and personal

Perhaps they are just not good enough.

Perhaps the prospect
of such a heartfelt
expression being seen as
shallow silly
pretentious saccharine
unoriginal sentimental
trite boring
overwrought obscure stupid
simply embarrassing

is enough to give any aspiring
poet good reason to
hide their work from
public view.


Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.
Burnt shredded flushed away
Occasionally they are folded
Into little squares
And wedged under the corner of
An unstable piece of furniture
(So actually quite useful)

Others are
hidden behind
a loose brick
or drainpipe
sealed into
the back of an
old alarm clock
put between the pages of
that is unlikely
to ever be opened.

someone might find them one day,
The truth is that unread poetry
Will almost always be just that.
to join a vast invisible river
of waste that flows out of suburbia.

Almost always.

On rare occasions,
Some especially insistent
pieces of writing will escape
into a backyard
or a laneway
be blown along
a roadside embankment
and finally come
to rest in a
shopping center
parking lot

as so many
things do

It is here that
something quite
takes place

two or more pieces of poetry
drift toward each other
through a strange
force of attraction
to science
and ever so slowly
cling together
to form a tiny,
shapeless ball.

Left undisturbed,
this ball gradually
becomes larger and rounder as other
free verses
confessions secrets
stray musings wishes and unsent
love letters
attach themselves
one by one.

Such a ball creeps
through the streets
Like a tumbleweed
for months even years

If it comes out only at night it has a good
Chance of surviving traffic and children
and through a
slow rolling motion
(its number one predator)

At a certain size, it instinctively
shelters from bad weather, unnoticed
but otherwise roams the streets
for scraps
of forgotten
thought and feeling.

time and luck
the poetry ball becomes
A vast accumulation of papery bits
That ultimately take to the air, levitating by
The sheer force of so much unspoken emotion.
It floats gently
above suburban rooftops
when everybody is asleep
inspiring lonely dogs
to bark in the middle
of the night.

a big ball of paper
not matter how large and
buoyant, is still a fragile thing.

Sooner or
it will be surprised by
a sudden
gust of wind
Beaten by
driving rain
in a matter
of minutes
a billion

One morning
everyone will wake up
to find a pulpy mess
covering front lawns
clogging up gutters
and plastering car

Traffic will be delayed
children delighted
adults baffled
unable to figure out
where it all came from

Stranger still
Will be the
Discovery that
Every lump of
Wet paper
Contains various
faded words pressed into accidental

Barely visible
but undeniably present
To each reader
they will whisper
something different
something joyful
something sad
truthful absurd
hilarious profound and perfect
No one will be able to explain the
Strange feeling of weightlessness
or the private smile
that remains
Long after the street sweepers
have come and gone.”
More quotes…