Ellie's Reviews > Lost & Found

Lost & Found by Shaun Tan
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Jun 04, 12

it was amazing

If you are looking for the new destination to which Shaun Tan's magical style would take you, this is actually a prequel. He published the three stories in this book separately way before 2001. So logically, they are very different in voice and style, both from his most recent books and among themselves.

The Red Tree is very similar to an usual children's book in its illustrative strategy: each plate illustrates a phrase in a sentence in a story from a child's life. It's probably the least naturalistic, yet Tan's ambiguity between the real and the unreal is already present. The Lost Thing is my favorite. It's almost like a color version of The Arrival: the theme of "things that don't belong", hybrid objects and creatures, the threat of an urban jungle swallowing up people and their lives. And his collage and assemblage elements are simply delicious, plus very organic to his theme. The last story, about "rabbits" taking up other being's land, is the most allegoric and unsettling. Tan says it's an allegory for the history of colonization of Australia, meant for adults, admittedly difficult to categorize.

But then all of his stories break conventions and molds. This book in particular is amazing in the opportunity it affords us to peek in the formative phase of a young artist and see how he is breaking ground for the themes and images that would fascinate us later.
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