Bethann's Reviews > The Arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
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's review
May 30, 2012

really liked it

This is a very interesting novel, to say the least. It is wordless. The only “words” throughout the book are some kind of illegible language. I believe the authors purpose in putting these strange writings in the novel is to allow the reader to experience what it must feel like for immigrants who do not know the native language of the country they have ventured to.
“The Arrival” by Shaun Tan is obviously a very quick read. While some pages seem to be just pictures, others take a little bit more time to decipher. Not only does Shaun Tan take the reader to strange new worlds with odd creatures, he also places shadows and strange figures in very meaningful positions. This book posesses a lot of meaning, just not depicted in the most conventional way of most novels.
I think for younger children or even young adults, this book might be a little bit too deep. I’d say it would be a lot more worthwhile for older middle school, younger high school aged children. Any age below that I don’t feel would appreciate the depth.
Overall I’d say it’s a concept that takes some getting used to, but once you start to see the meaning of the pictures and begin to analyze each detail, the words of the novel can actually be written in your head, which is great for the imagination.

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