Julie Esanu's Reviews > The Arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
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Feb 08, 10

bookshelves: immigration, graphic-novel, fantasy, emigration
Read in January, 2009

Tan is a talented illustrated and researcher. The book is presented an illustrated scrapbook and as we open it, we are introduced to our nameless protagonist. Tan uses realistic hand drawn photographs to memorialize the experience. Initially these realist photos show the comforts of home and moves to more fantasy as our émigré encounters the unfamiliar. Without words, Tan's powerful illustrations absorb the reader. We can feel the excitement, bewilderment, and discomfort when encountering the foreign. This graphic novel is divided into five sections that represent the departure from home, the crossing, the arrival to the new country, the acclimation, and the reunion of the family. This book has personal meaning for Tan, who notes that it "was inspired by anecdotal stories told by immigrants of many different countries and historical periods, including [his:] father." This would be a wonderful book to use when discussing immigration and the American experience.
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