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The Arrival (Q&A)

August 17, 2008

Antipodean Owl says: looking forward to hearing you further elucidate your thoughts on Shaun Tan
I loved it, and I think that everyone should ‘read’ it!

Rebecca Reid says: I had mixed feelings about The Arrival, although I did like it. Some of the fantastical elements made it weird, and the no text at all somewhat bothered me: was is a novel? A picture book? A graphic novel? What would you call it? What made it five stars in your opinion?

I guess I’d call it a picture book, but I’m not really concerned about labels. I know that sounds bratty, or dismissive, but it’s not supposed to: it honestly didn’t occur to me to decide what to call it until you asked. lol So much for being a thoughtful reader! What made it five stars is that I completely empathised with the immigrant-the fantastical elements helped, for me, because I had to try to figure out what was going on just like the immigrant. And the illustrations were so beautiful: it had a kind of magic. It reminds you that, as powerful as words are, pictures can be even more so. I think there’s a kind of primalness to culture shock-no matter how intellectually prepared you are, at some point the frustrations will make you feel like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum (hopefully, this tantrum is in your head, or at least in private!). And so the lack of words seemed to really fit.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2008 11:43 am

    I’ve seen this on the bookseller recommendation shelves at my local bookshop, and I’ve been very tempted to buy it, looks like I might just have to give in!

  2. August 17, 2008 1:45 pm

    This was my favourite book of last year, even though there are no words. I would think it is either a picture book or a graphic novel, because there is clearly a storyline there even without words.

    I found the imagery so amazing. Absolutely loved it!

  3. August 17, 2008 4:56 pm

    Maybe I can fit this one in for my Graphic Novel Challenge. Hmmm… sounds interesting.

  4. August 17, 2008 9:45 pm

    Isn’t this book amazing? I just want to frame every page and put them on my walls. Shaun Tan’s incredible. Carl recommended The Red Tree by him as well…I’ve had my eye out for that one, but it’s hard to find.

  5. August 22, 2008 11:40 pm

    I loved the art work too! And I don’t know why it was that I felt I needed to label it when I was reading it. I guess because I just read a few other graphic novels first… Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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