Richard Jones' Log: Shaun Tan's "The Arrival"

Wed, 25 Oct 2006

As Rachel mentioned, Shaun Tan had the Melbourne launch of The Arrival last night.

It's quite an amazing work that took Shaun four years to develop. It tells a story of migration in just over 120 pages of pencilled artwork. It's a "silent" graphic novel - there's no words. The images are incredibly evocative - very early on when the man is leaving his home there's a heart-breaking scene of him leaving his family. In particular, the image of the daughter looking up from her breakfast bowl to see the his packed suitcase has really stuck with me. It helps that Shaun has nailed the graphic novel format completely - his use of multiple panels is some of the best I've seen.

Shaun's website has sample images from the book, but as was said last night, you can't just flip through the book to random pages. Sure the artwork is gorgeous, but you'd completely miss the extra impact from the story itself.

Comment by zac on Tue, 11 Sep 2007

i think this book is a good book for people the like picture books

Comment by shibadiva on Sun, 27 Jan 2008

Shaun Tan's work is awesome. I wondered how long it took him to develop "Arrival". No surprise that it was a four year effort. I shared my copy with my drawing instructor today, and we are both blown away by his work.

I'll definitely be acquiring some of his other graphic books. He is such an inspiration.

Comment by Domi on Sun, 25 Jan 2009

"The Arrival" has been awarded the "Fauve d'Or" at the Angouleme Festival in 2008. It's the "Palme d'Or" of the graphic novels. Shaun Tan is from Western Australia. I live in Brisbane and tried to find this novel everywhere in the bookshops, without any luck. I finally found it at the municipal library. The sheer simplicity of his poetry made me cry. This is a beautiful hommage to all the people who tried to make their life better all over the world. And because it is silent it reaches everyone, reenforcing the idea that verbal communication is sometimes so difficult. I would love to see Australia being more aware of his outstanding talent.