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The Arrival

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A man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life--he's leaving home to build a better future for his family.

Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy.

128 pages, Hardcover

First published October 12, 2007

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About the author

Shaun Tan

88 books2,416 followers
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 Literature Trust. 2009 World Fantasy Award for Best Artist.
2011 he won his first Oscar in the Category Best Short Animated Film for his work The Lost Thing

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5 stars
31,602 (56%)
4 stars
15,134 (27%)
3 stars
6,007 (10%)
2 stars
1,696 (3%)
1 star
1,016 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,463 reviews
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 65 books233k followers
May 28, 2016
Lovely and amazing.

Re-read this In May 2016 with my little son.

My thoughts?

If I could buy everyone in America a copy of this book, I would.
Profile Image for oyshik.
219 reviews692 followers
August 18, 2021
The Arrival by Shaun Tan

I am just wondering how can a wordless book be so compelling and beautiful. No word. No text. Only the narration through silence and art. Subtle and graceful the arts were. Beautiful worldbuilding. Adorable creatures. Phenomenal storytelling. An unconventional way to tell a story and it was done magnificently. It's the story of a man who is forced to leave his homeland to seek opportunities in a new world and you know, it is never easy to leave a family and struggling to fit into an alien place. Thats the story that have touched a place in my heart.description
Charming book.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
November 29, 2021
The Arrival, Shaun Tan

The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time.

A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast.

تاریخ نگرش: روز نهم ماه دسامبر سال2014میلادی

عنوان: از راه رسیده؛ نویسنده: شان تن؛ مترجم ندارد چون واژه ای در کتاب نیست؛ تهران، انتشارات غنچه؛ سال1395؛ در یک جلد بدون شماره گذاری؛ مصور، رنگی، شابک9786007721285؛ موضوع داستانهای تصویری از نقاشان استرالیا - سده21م

کتاب مهاجر – اثری که هیچ کلمه‌ ای در آن ظاهر نمی‌شود، و حاوی نقاشی‌های بی‌نظیری با مداد است- مشهورترین اثر «شان تن» تا به امروز است؛ همیشه برای خوانشگر جذاب است که بداند کتاب‌های «شان تن» چطور نوشته/ترسیم می‌شوند، چون ایشان همواره خودش را به چالش می‌کشد، تا راه‌های نوی برای گفتن قصه‌ هایش پیدا کند؛ نخست کتاب «مهاجر» بسیار کم‌حجم‌تر، با متن بیشتر و تصاویر کم‌تر بود؛ اما «شان تن» متوجه شد این فرمت مناسب چیزی نیست که می‌خواهد بگوید؛ برای همین تصمیم گرفتند روایتشان را تنها با سود بردن از تصاویر ارائه کنند؛ ایشان راه حل دشوار‌تری را برگزیدند؛ صحنه‌ هایی از کتاب را ساختند، و پیش از کشیدن‌شان روی کاغذ، از آن‌ها فیلم‌برداری و عکس‌برداری کردند؛ برای همین کار بود که پایان دادن به کتابشان پنج سال زمان برد؛ داستان مردی را می‌گوید که به سودای زندگی بهتر برای همسر و دخترش، مهاجرت می‌کند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 07/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 07/09/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
September 27, 2023
6/17/21: I have used this book for many years as an example of silent or wordless storytelling for my comics and graphic novels classes, in conjunction with (most often) Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, to look at how the story is constructed entirely from images, then to take a close at how these images/panels speak to each other, and hat effects they engender. In this book, more Eastern than Western in many ways because of its reflective style (vs. the transfer Western superhero action style) we learn about a family's scary/exciting immigration excursion. It's not a graphic novel, technically, I guess, since it is a picture book, but it is an all-ages book (not just for kids), so I highly recommend it.

6/19/18: Reading for summer YA GN and Comics class, wordless, a masterpiece everyone should own. Here I borrow from Agne's background on how Tan wrote it:


The feel is silent movies, De Sica's (1948) The Bicycle Thief and photographs of immigrants on display at Ellis Island. Why is this book constantly timely in this country and in too many countries on the nature of refugees and immigrants? The separation of a parent from his child in this book is wrenching, especially in the light of camps for "tender age" children in this, my country.

Original review, 6/19/16: The Arrival is Shaun Tan's masterpiece, a completely silent tale for all ages. A wordless book--except the title--it's about immigration and the wonder and largely dark strangeness and anxiety of that passage. In the U.S. the present conservative outcry about immigration is really just a continuation of talk that has lasted for at least 150 years here. "Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry . . . . " well, that Statue of Liberty was built in different times, eh? The concerns expressed by residents (and not just here in the U.S., of course) include such sentiments as "what does this have to do with us?" and "it's not my problem." Of course there is also a lot of generous sentiment for helping out people in need, as is also demonstrated across the world and will have to continue to be demonstrated for a long time. in 2021 we learn there are a terrifying 60+ million refugees already on the planet.

This book is dedicated to Tan's parents, who were once immigrants themselves.

Steve Earle's Immigrant song:


This book sets aside the politics, mostly, and focuses on the psycho-socio effects of emigrating/immigrating, the strangeness, the anxiety, the fear, the cautious hopefulness, evidenced brilliantly by Tan in sepia-toned and darker shadings, and (especially) the creation of small and large fantastical creatures the immigrants face, symbolic of the newness and strangeness. Are the creatures cute? Are they scary? Depends on your perspective, in part. Maybe both welcoming and frightening.

The focus of the story is on a small family who are separated as father goes ahead to the new country ahead of his wife and daughter. They must leave a place with dragons (and possibly other magical creatures) and come to a place of humans, but also creatures of another kind. Language, customs, everything is foreign to the father, but in time he makes friends, makes connections. Metaphor, allegory, are at the heart of this tale. Monsters are very real as we move to a new place. Maybe they can be conquered; maybe not. A paper (origami) bird made by the father to make his sad daughter smile transfigures, emerges as something else, and again and again is woven throughout. Art to help us cope. Magical, fantastical, thrilling.

Joan Baez singing Dylan's "I Pity the Poor Immigrant" (which borrows from the Scottish "Tramps And Hawkers"):


P. S. 6/16/17: The Arrival, I say again, silent, is now used in K-college classrooms, all over the world, for which I am very pleased and grateful. It has in the way of the best of "all ages" books some basic simplicity kids of all ages can relate to, and levels of increasing complexity as you get older and gain more experience in the world (and with comics). Yes, every time you read it you see new things, new levels of metaphor, it's always new, as all great art is. The art is amazing, meticulous and strange and wonderful. It's the source of much conversation and written and artistic response around the world. Do you think you might possibly be moved by a silent story with such creatures? I bet you would be. I am.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,194 reviews1,816 followers
May 1, 2022


Autentica meraviglia questi disegni, viene voglia di guardarli e riguardarli, pieni di dettagli da scoprire, di delicatezza, di struggimento, di umanità...
Pieni di bellezza.

Shaun Tan, nato nell'Australia dell'ovest (Perth, proprio da dove veniva Frank Dunne, il personaggio interpretato da Mel Gibson nel film “Gallipoli”, se può rendere l'idea), da genitori malesi, disegna in apparenza un film, in realtà 'incide' per immagini la storia eterna della migrazione.

Il mondo vegetale e animale di Shaun Tan resterà nella mia memoria.
E resterà nella mia memoria anche la sua metropoli d'approdo, un po' Gotham, un po' Babele, un po' Oz.


La meraviglia, oltre i disegni, è che manca completamente il testo: una narrazione per silenzio e immagini.

La meraviglia è che il migrante è anche viaggiatore, si stupisce di fronte alla novità, è curioso, è attento, non è solo qualcuno che fugge, ma diventa presto qualcuno che arriva.
Piacerebbe al mio amico algerino che scrive buoni libri e che parla di 'progetto migratorio'.

La meraviglia è che insieme allo strazio della separazione, all'incognita del viaggio, al rischio dell'arrivo, Shaun Tan sceglie di mostrare un lato poco noto, la solidarietà e l'accoglienza.


Certo, il viaggio di Shaun Tan è di quelli che finiscono bene, come si vorrebbe che sempre fosse.
Altre volte, invece, tante volte va in modo diverso, c'è molta più fatica, molto più dolore, molte più difficoltà, e soprattutto, molto meno 'approdo'.
Questo libro è dedicato anche a chi non ce la fa.

Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,021 reviews97 followers
April 14, 2017
To see this and other wordless picture book reviews, please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a graphic novel and wordless story of illustrations highlighting an immigrant man's journey told through an imaginary world.

I picked this up for my students a few years ago after hearing a special on NPR about it. We enjoyed following along in the story as the illustrations send powerful messages and emotions. It almost feels like a movie as you're turning the pages.

This is a great eye-opening and thought-provoking story that will help children and adults think about immigration including the fears and difficulties that come along with being alone in a strange place.

Profile Image for Mutasim Billah .
112 reviews200 followers
July 17, 2020
First of all, special thanks to Tukunjil Nayeera for recommending me this wonderful book.

The Arrival is a wordless graphic-novel that tells the tale of an immigrant father who leaves his family to work in a foreign land. The story is told in the form of sequential art with the mood being set with varying degrees of sepia-tone colored illustrations in multiple frames and panels.

The story takes place in a strange fantasy realm, where the hero immigrates to a different place to support his family. The struggles of the immigrant is showcased just using art and wordless storytelling. The purpose of the novel is to generate empathy among readers for the immigrants and refugees who have been frowned-upon in a world ruled by bigotry, by giving the readers a glimpse of the bigger picture.

Shaun Tan sets the mood of each scene with sepia-tone color schemes, ranging from grayscale to bright gold. The illustrations are reminiscent of aged photos(daguerreotypes), and often feature realistic-looking humans in abstract and bizarre environments. The environments resemble a combination of futuristic and old-fashioned aesthetics. Tan's process was one that used real-life models to create a storyboard. He also shot pictures in his garage, using a video camera and empty boxes to create lighting.

Highly recommended for readers of all ages.

Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,541 followers
November 8, 2021
Yesterday, when I received a comment from Vio, I realized I've wanted to "read" this for a while. So, why not open the book at that moment? The Arrival is a wordless graphic novel about a man who had to leave his wife and daughters and sail to another place, hoping for a better future. The surreal and vintage drawings follow his journey and struggles towards finding a new home. the art was strange but beautiful, it managed to stir feelings inside me without words being needed.
Profile Image for Melki.
6,039 reviews2,390 followers
March 8, 2017
This book is magnificent!

A wordless graphic novel that the tells the familiar tale of an immigrant, and somehow makes the story new and exciting.


A man says goodbye to his wife and daughter, and sets out, taking only a suitcase containing a precious photograph of his family. He leaves a dark and ominous city for a journey across the sea. Days pass, each depicted by a drawing of the sky. The ship enters the harbor and a strange new world is revealed. The man is examined, cataloged, and labeled. Then he ventures forth into an amazing city. He is bombarded by new sights and sounds. Everywhere he looks, there is something he's never seen before. Even the food here is strange! He doesn't speak the language and must draw pictures of what he needs. He locates a place to stay and discovers an odd little roommate. He finds work and meets other immigrants who tell sad, horrifying stories of fear and oppression.


The monochromatic drawings are beautifully rendered in a style similar to Chris Van Allsburg, though I was reminded just a bit of M.C. Escher as well.


Adults will appreciate the simple story of a stranger in a foreign land, while children will be enraptured by the amazing drawings of fantastical creatures that populate this magical world.


This is just a wonderful book to be looked at again and again, and a powerful reminder that we are all immigrants here.

Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews735 followers
April 2, 2018
This is a wondrous and wonderful book. Entirely told in drawings & pictures, not a word at all in the pages, apart from the title on the cover. My first 'graphic novel'. Beautifully designed 'in sepia', a weird and touching story. About a man who leaves his wife and little daughter to emigrate to a new country, to find work and earn a living. But it is no ordinary story, it is full of fantasy images, creatures and weird observations. It seems to be symbolic for people going to another country to live, overcome by weird, scary but also beautiful new experiences. This is translated into a surrealistic, also scifi surrounding with the weirdest animals, shapes and creatures, scary experiences and wonderful encounters. A special book....highly recommended.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,529 reviews978 followers
April 30, 2020
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

arrival 1

How did we get from a golden door to prison bars?


Shaun Tan doesn't engage in political polemics. He has no need of words at all. His silent surrealist paintings are more eloquent that all the ghostwriters, TV anchors and political commentators that try to convince us that black is actually white. The Arrival is more than real, because it is Art with a capital A - it is the distillation of the suffering, the alienation, the loneliness and the struggle of countless refugees into a poem without words, a sequence of sepia prints that borrows from Chaplin's silent movies, from Brueghel's fantastic imagination and from Italian neorealism to become more than the sum of its parts: a new medium for a new world, a historical manuscript, a cry for justice and compassion that is as relevant today as it was at the turn of the twentieth century, when the story is set.

Shaun Tan spent four years working on this album, gathering personal histories from his family, poring over records on Ellis Island, studying faded photographs in museums and interviewing refugee families from all over the world. The resulting album is both familiar and alien, familiar from historical prints that were used as inspiration, and alien in the fantastic elements that are used capture the confusion and the strangeness of being transplanted into a completely new society.

This is my first contact with the artwork of Shaun Tan, and I find it technically flawless in its use of light, in composition, in the arrangement of panels to describe the passage of time and the sequence of events. Tan uses many techniques from cinematography : tracking shots, wide angle panoramic vistas, fade ins, time-lapse, low angles or bird-eye views, a lot of zooming out from a scene. It's an impressive display of skill that, for me, passed almost unnoticed during the first read through of the album since I was too caught up in the story to pay proper attention. Of course, after I finished I went back to the beginning and went through each panel again at a much slower pace, focusing on details, lighting, facial expressions and so on. I am sure a third or fourth reading will still bring something new to my attention.

The subject, the silent movie treatment and the fantastic artwork are all good reasons to be generous with my star points, but in the case of "The Arrival" there is also a bit of personal history involved that makes me take the extra step and add it to my favorite shelf. I goes all the way back to 1985, I think, when I used to watch two or three movies a day instead of studying for my exams. And every once in a while, I came out of the darkness of the cinemateque, blinking in the harsh daylight and wondering why is everything still the same way it was before, why is everybody going about their business when something momentous just happened inside, a game changer, a new revelation about myself and about the world. Such is the power of art to define ourselves and to inspire us for change, and Shaun Tan reminded me of one of these movies that I haven't seen in thirty years, yet still shines brightly in my memory. I am talking about "America, America" by Elia Kazan, a comparable masterpiece on the subject of immigration and of the American Dream when seen from outside.

shaun tan
Profile Image for Chrissy.
109 reviews112 followers
July 30, 2022
Powerful, touching and relevant story told entirely and wordlessly through beautiful, surreal pictures.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 3 books783 followers
August 22, 2022
A work of exceptional beauty, this book shows how wonderful the world could be if only we showed a little more love and understanding to our fellow men and women.
Profile Image for Heba.
1,091 reviews2,129 followers
August 9, 2023
أين الكلمات...؟!!....
لا توجد كلمات بل رسومات مصورة..
وماذا أفعل بها ؟...حسناً لنرى ما ينتظرني...
رواية مصورة تحكي لنا مغامرة أحد المهاجرين بعدما ترك عائلته مُضطراً ، يتوجه إلى مدينة غرائبية معالمها ويتشارك مع آخرين وخز الألم...وجع الفراق...وأمل الوعد بلقاء....
براعة تلك الرسومات البديعة تكمن في تأثيرها المباغت للصورة بينما تُمرر لك الكلمات من رسومات مجردة مُسطحة لتنطلق صور متجسدة متدفقة بالخيال....
عليك ان تفك اللغة الإشارية للصور وقد يُعد أمراً صعباً ولكن ثمة وخزة تنطلق من المشهد تخترقك كسهم...تفصيلة صغيرة تُسلم لك للوصول....
تنطلق من الصور دهشة متجددة لا تنضب تستولي عليك إزاء التفاصيل ودقة تصويرها...
الحركة البطيئة للمشهد الواحد متمثلة في عدد من الصور قبل أن تنبعث الحركة التالية تجعلك تعيش لحظة وقوع الحدث مستغرقاً كلك في تلك اللحظة...
أما عن الخلفية الصامتة تفسح الطريق للمشاعر وحدها لتفيض بعذوبتها ورهافتها...
تنزلق التأويلات من وعيك ..تُسقطها على الصور ، وتفض الغلاف الرقيق عن الأرواح الشفيفة التي بإنتظارك هناك....
قرأتُ يوماً أن من ينظر في عيني احدهم في صورة ما هو مجنون ، والحمد لله أدركت كم أنا مجنونة فلم اتوقف عن التحديق لكي انتزع الكلمات من مكمنها...فثمة تفصيلة صغيرة ستكشف لك عما حسُن اخفاؤه...
أخيراً ... "شوان تان" شكراً لك سيدي على هذه المغامرة الشيقة الفريدة والتي دعتني أتساءل ماذا لو كنت هناك ؟
او لم يتوجب عليّ التواجد في تلك الرسومات ايضاً...!!...
Profile Image for Natalie.
567 reviews3,196 followers
June 5, 2020
The Arrival begins with a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean.


We follow his struggles being away from home, and entering into a new life where not much is understood or explained. The Arrival tells a universal story of immigration.

It was a little hard at first depicting each picture without text, but the more I got into the story, the more I understood.

This book is a wordless story told through capturing images. It is beautiful. Beautifully harrowing, haunting, and compelling.










It managed to capture solitude, wistfulness, and hopefulness in a little over 100 pages, and it was magical.

*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying The Arrival, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*

This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,157 followers
May 20, 2017
Not a single word here...........just a beautifully illustrated picture story that communicates to the reader the heartbreaking separation of an immigrant family.

In one man's travels across the ocean to an unfamiliar land, the struggles are apparent to connect to an unknown people, to find work, and earn a living so a desperate father can provide for and be reunited with his wife and daughter.

Wonderfully portrayed images induce the reader to envision a difficult life with hope for a better future.


Profile Image for Jan Philipzig.
Author 1 book266 followers
February 10, 2017
Shaun Tan`s Universal Masterpiece

Shaun Tan's graphic novel The Arrival tells the story of the refugee experience, depicting its sense of deprivation, danger, loneliness, discovery, and wonder.

Rooted in the picture-story tradition that predates modern comics, the book's wordless language mirrors the protagonist's inability to communicate though words in his new environment; the surreal images provide the story with universal relevance.

Brilliantly conceived and masterfully realized, The Arrival is the rare case of a graphic novel that can be recommended to just about anyone, regardless of age or cultural background.

Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,217 followers
May 3, 2018

You do not need words when you have a talent as loud as this.

Shaun Tan has, in fact, rocked the charts and souls alike with the poignant way of life of an immigrant.

Working hard, toiling under the sun and those sorrowful nights are all acceptable - when you see your family smile.

Believe me, it's that smile on your wife's face when you return home that makes you work harder. Win more.

You might be a CEO or a construction helper, at the end of the day you want to come to a happy family.

With evoking illustrations, isolation and the loneliness are well nourished. It is a novel that holds you by the scruff of the neck and makes you read the mesmerizing pages until the very last.

And all that - without speaking.

Shaun Tan, you genius !
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
July 11, 2017
Every time I read a graphic with great art I say "THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE ART STYLE IT'S SO PRETTY" but i'm serious about this one. Probably the most gorgeous book I've ever read.

The Arrival is a story told entirely in pictures about the experience of immigration. It's a surrealistic story, meaning that the world he moves away from and then later into, is very fantastical with sci-fi elements. This was a little bit jarring at first, but once you realize the metaphor that's being established-- the foreignness of it all-- then it's really mindboggling. This book provokes so much empathy and sadness, and just the angles of the pictures and the creativity behind it and all the otherworldy elements were so well thought through, it was amazing.

Even though there were no words, this really tells a story, and I love that about it. Highly recommend this (even though it's really tall and probably won't fit on your bookshelf lol)
Profile Image for [S] Bibliophage.
950 reviews859 followers
February 14, 2018
Indisputably, The Arrival is a stunning wordless graphic novel that will attract readers because of how brilliantly it narrated a story through illustrations. It vividly describes the tale of an immigrant starting in a foreign land: how he struggled with communicating, adjusting to the new culture, the problem on seeking employment, and missing his family.
The Arrival
This fiction depicts the true story of some foreigners who chose to leave their love ones, and trying their luck abroad in order to provide a comfortable life for those they left behind. There are other stories of other characters in this graphic novel that is heart-rending, e.g. the old man who was a war veteran; he lost his other leg and when he return home, he saw that his hometown was destroyed and that there was no survivors. Another tragic story was about the mother who loss her daughter and even though it is not apparent, her daughter might have died because of child labor.
The Arrival
The Arrival is a worthy piece of graphic novel to check out because of its compelling story and captivating drawings. One way or another, we are familiar with one or two of the stories in this picture book; possibly that we knew someone with a similar story, or maybe our ancestors used to be immigrants also back then.
The Arrival
Profile Image for Maggie Stiefvater.
Author 81 books168k followers
July 21, 2008
When people recommended The Arrival to me, I thought it would be of academic interest. You know, as an artist, I would find it visually appealing, as a YA author, I would find it stylistically interesting, etc. So it took me a long time to pick it up, and I'm so glad that I did.

The Arrival is a graphic novel (told in illustrations, not in comics) telling the story of an immigrant coming to a new land. The metaphor is brilliant: Shaun Tan sensitively illustrates a very human protagonist coming to a country where everything is literally alien: tentacled fruits, many legged animals, bizarre and fascinating architecture, and bewildering methods of transport. The result is an often laugh-out-loud funny study in magical realism.

And my verdict? As someone who makes their living telling their stories with words, I was humbled by just how poignant and humorous and brilliant this book is, without a single word uttered. Highly recommend. And watch out, family, because y'all are getting copies of this for Christmas.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****
Profile Image for Fatma Al Zahraa Yehia.
464 reviews546 followers
July 17, 2022
المرة الأولى التي أخوض فيها تجربة قراءة رواية بلا كلمات. وللمرة الأولى تبذل عيناي مجهودا مع الصورة بدلا من الكلمة.

تذكرت وجوه الأطفال عندما أراهم يطيلون النظر إلى صورة في كتاب، وكيف كنت اتعجب مازحةً معهم "انت خلاص حفظت الصورة بتبص على ايه؟". وتذكرت أنني كنت ذلك الطفلة في يوم من الأيام، أتمعن في كل صورة أراها أعجوبة بكل تفاصيلها قبل أن أتحول إلى كائن متعجل نسي كيف يرى الكون بشكل واضح.
لأكثر من نصف ساعة ارتحل عقلي في عالم أخر. عالم ساحر رأيت لقطات منه في أحلامي وأنا صغيرة.


أجبرني "شون تان" على التفرسِ في وجوه ابطال تلك القصة، لكي استنطق منهم ما لم يكتب أو يقال. أحسست بسعادة عندما أعدت قراءتها-أو النظر إليها بمعنى أصح-وعندما استطعت فك بعض ألغاز ورموز الصور التي لم اقهم مغزاها في القراءة الأولى.


هذه القصة متعة يجب أن لا تفوت، وشون تان فنان مذهل. وهذا الكتاب يستحق مليون نجمة من خمس. وأظن أن لو وجدت منه نسخة ورقية، سأضحي واشتريها مهما غلا سعرها. (يعني ماظنش قوي يعني)
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,458 reviews2,406 followers
February 4, 2023
A visual treat for art lovers.
It depicts perfectly the emotions and the dilemma of someone shifting to a completely new place; adapting and finally accepting the new environment as well as saying goodbyes.
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,217 reviews9,908 followers
December 4, 2013
Wow - calling all goodreaders with Christmas present problems - look no further. Buy this one for anyone! They'll never have seen anything like it, and they'll love it. Flinty grandfathers and surly 9 year olds will all love this. It's an entirely wordless story about emigrating and trying to make a new life, with a twist of Jules Verne steampunk. Shaun Tan is absolutely brilliant. The world he creates is familiar and strange and heartbreaking too. Let the rest of this review be wordless too.

Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,487 reviews843 followers
December 14, 2021

“The Arrival”

That's it - the only text in this extraordinary book. This is a story that needs no translation, art that speaks directly to the “reader”.

The inside front and back covers are completely filled with faces, easily identifiable if you happened to know any of the people (I didn’t) and representing migrants from all over the world, some looking something like you, perhaps.

Tan said that some faces were inspired by the photos from Ellis Island, NY, where so many migrants have entered the US. He also said that one of the shipboard paintings was based on an 1886 Tom Roberts painting of migrants coming to Australia.

Some pages are like comic strips, in that they have many pictures divided into rows. It is tempting to glance at the page and move on, but if you do, you will miss the story. Each little painting tells a specific part of the story. Other illustrations may cover a single page or even a double-page spread. They are fantastic!

I will include a dozen or so illustrations to indicate the way the story is told, but I implore you to find a copy to read yourself. When I asked a daughter who teaches and works with refugee and new migrant children if she’d heard of it, she said quietly and a little condescendingly, “I HAVE it.”

Say no more. Every school should have this. Every COUNCIL or local government should have this to explain to politicians what is happening in the world.

There is a deadly but unspecified threat looming over the main character.

Mother and daughter help Father pack to lead the way to a new life overseas. The family photo is carefully packaged.

The decision is made. Mother and Father close the suitcase.

Father and daughter share a love of paper cranes. The time has come for goodbyes.

The Arrival, obviously inspired by the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Many of the illustrations are reminiscent of places we’re familiar with, but the specifics are very other-worldly and don’t translate to any particular city or country. There is a section with scenes of a massive jumble of migrants in one place, also inspired, the author says, by Ellis Island.

Now, Father needs to find a place to stay. He had the foresight to bring a notebook with him, so he sketches a picture of a bed to indicate what he’s looking for.

Father is looking for a place to stay in his new country.

Note that the “writing” in the notebook doesn’t correspond to any languages that I’m aware of. We don’t know, or need to know, where this man comes from. He meets a pleasant fellow dressed in a very different costume, who shows him to a room. Note the unusual “pet” in the man’s backpack. This country is certainly very foreign to Father (and me).

Father remembers his family and admires the picture he’s hung on the wall of his new place.

I don’t know if you can see Father’s little window, or not, but look for the little tail of the pet which is hanging out the window. As I said, this is a very different world.

He makes a new friend and they begin to share their stories.

Father sketches what terrified his family in the old country to his new friend, who begins to describe his own story.

An illustration of the terror that faced Father’s new friend.

This is how the new friend and his family hid and escaped their oppressors.

Father enjoys a happy meal with his new friend’s family, including the pets.

The pets seem to be a kind of dog and cat, but the food is reminiscent only of eggplant and various squashes, I think. Not that there’s anything wrong with them!

An evening with friends! Music, pets, folding paper animals, a bowl for Father.

Here I will fast-forward. We have seen Father try a few jobs, one with difficulty because he doesn’t know the language and hangs posters upside down (how’s YOUR Chinese, eh?).

But he’s saved up money, sent it home, and waits for his wife and daughter. They are “flying” in. Their transport is something like a Dr. Who phonebox hanging from a balloon.

They’re coming, they’re coming! Father runs to meet them.

After they arrive, they sit down for a happy family meal.

Dinner “at home” with the family photo on the wall and the new pet at the table.

Later, the little girl takes the “dog” for a walk around her new neighbourhood and finds an even more recent arrival trying to figure out where she is.

The daughter helps a young woman read her map.

The new migrant has a suitcase much like Father’s, and the daughter shows her where she wants to go.

Full circle. What goes around, comes around. This is the most beautiful book. It’s all in muted sepia tones, giving it a very old look, which helps identify it as an old story. There are no colours to make you think of any particular country.

People fleeing oppression, terror, war, and abject poverty deserve a chance. I wish everyone could read this and understand that this "old" story is actually current. I also wish it were possible to drop politicians into completely foreign environments with no money or language, just to see what it's like.

Find a copy! You'll want to own one. It's 132 pages, large format.

P.S. Many of the images are online if you google the title, author, and images. There is also a beautiful, 14-minute video version posted several years ago that teachers are using in classes. https://vimeo.com/74292820
Profile Image for Kelli.
851 reviews403 followers
February 1, 2016
I'm glad that other people know how to put pictures of the pages of this book into their reviews because if I had that kind of knowledge, I fear my entire review would be page after page of the breathtaking artwork in this wordless graphic novel. That description is so fitting, as this story has no words, yet you read it like you would read a novel. The pencil drawings tell the whole story and a touching, mystical story it is. I believe the author more than achieved what he set out to accomplish when he began the four year(!) process of researching and creating the art and the story. Visually stunning and emotionally affecting, you can feel this! 5 stars.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,071 reviews31.3k followers
March 4, 2018
How have I never heard of this book before now. I see how popular it is. It has found me now and I'm thankful for the experience.

This book is wordless and yet it says to much with the extraordinary imagination of Shaun Tan. His vision is boundless. His art work blows your brains out of your mind and your like, I knew there was more in this world. I can't believe all the things I have never imagined before. This world is so beautiful.

This is an immigration story for safer lands to grow a family in peace and harmony. It seems similar to Nazi Germany. The cities he envision, the plants, the things, the places are so incredible. I am totally stunned by this. It is an amazing experience. This is an experience. Picture do have a 1,000 words and this story tells a grand story with only pictures. It's a Wonder.
Profile Image for Shaghayegh.
74 reviews91 followers
January 3, 2023
چند وقت پیش مسافرت رفته بودم . با اینکه فقط چند صد کیلومتر فاصله تا خونه داشت ، اما احساس میکردم غریبم . اون هم در شهری که هم زبان بودیم . نگاهم به آسفالت های صافش بود . به اینکه شباهتی به جاده های ناهموار و پر چاله چوله ی گیلان نداره . به میادینش زل زدم که بهشون رسیده بودن و با چیزی که در شهرم دیده بودم ، مقایسه ش کردم . با اسب چهار راهی که مدت هاست رنگش نزدن و از قیافه افتاده .
هر چی بیشتر می دیدم ، پی میبردم چقدر تفاوت وجود داره . از آب و هوایی که باعث میشد تبدیل به یه اسفنج بشم بگیر تا کارگرهایی که در سکوت مشغول به کار بودن .
اگه تا صبح می‌شمردم باز هم ادامه داشت . اما با وجود همه این چیزا ، باز هم دلتنگ خونه بودم .
بال بال میزدم تا پا به شهرداری بذارم و به کبوترهای مفت خورش نگاه کنم . به تک تک کتاب هایی که تو ویترین بخاطر رطوبت کج و معوج شدن . به صدای راننده تاکسی هایی که میگن انزلی .. انزلی .. یک نفر ، گوش بدم . به اینکه دوباره حالت موهام مثل قبل بشه و خواهرم با سیم تلفن های روی سرم بازی کنه .
با اینکه سفرم زیاد طول نکشید اما بی طاقت شده بودم . جز برگشتن به جایی که بهش تعلق داشتم چیزی نمی خواستم .
اونجا بود که فهمیدم رفتن به این آسونی ها نیست . تو همیشه یه چیزهایی رو جا میذاری که تو هیچ چمدونی جا نمیگیره . برای همین هم هست نمیتونی ۱۰۰ درصد خودت رو ببری . مثل این میمونه که سوار هواپیمایی و معلقی . بین زمین و آسمون . جایی میون سرزمین خاطراتت و مکان آرزوهات . پا به دل ماجرایی میذاری که شاید هیچ شباهتی به اونچه که تجربه کردی نداره .

این کتاب به داستان آدم هایی می پردازه که تصمیم میگیرن برن . به دنیای ناشناخته ای که هیچ تصوری ازش ندارن . و آیا مهاجرت قرار هست بهشون آسون بگیره ؟
سیر داستانی بدون هیچ کلمه ای شکل گرفته و تو کتاب رو مثل آلبوم خاطرات ورق میزنی . به جزئیات دقت میکنی . به دنیایی که با رئالیسم جادویی آمیخته شده. به حیوون هایی که عجیبن ، به غذاهایی که شاید با ذائقه ت سازگار نباشن . به زبونی که باهاش غریبه ای . به تک تک چیزهایی که ازش سر در نمیاری و باید از پسشون بربیای .
این کتاب رو باید آروم بخونی و ازش انتظار نداشته باشی که اتفاقات مهیج و پشت سرهم درش بیفته . به تدریج واقعیت رو در دل یه دنیای جادویی میبینی . از جزئیات ساده ای که نباید سرسری ازشون بگذری .
طبق معمول باید بگم این مقوله هم برای ما ملموس هست . مهاجرت لعنتی .
به امید اینکه سرزمین ویرانه مون تبدیل به اون آبادی ای بشه که خواستارش بودیم :)
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