Allison Parker's Reviews > Tales from Outer Suburbia

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
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Jun 16, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, fantasy, juvenile, short-stories, graphic-novel
Read in June, 2011

Sometimes, pleasure comes from the comfort of the familiar, like a favorite dish at a favorite restaurant. But more often, at least for me, the greatest joy arises from the unexpected. "Tales from Outer Suburbia" was surprising, humorous, moving, and a complete delight.

As its title subtly suggests, the genre-bending stories in this book are rooted in simple suburbian experiences, but transcend normality with extraordinary creatures and secret places. Through skilled writing and dazzling artwork, Tan perfectly balances fantastic situations with an authentic acknowledgement of the reader, especially the young adult reader: her world, her fears, her frustrations, her wishes. A cut-paper style essay on where discarded poems go feels as personal and elegant as Lynda Barry's What It Is while still maintaining the uniquely otherworldliness of the collection as a whole.
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