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Books: Shaun Tan, The Arrival

17 May 2007

I stumbled on this wonderful comic novel in the CCCB’s bookshop in Barcelona. I spent quite a bit of time just looking at the sketches, fighting the immediate urge to buy it.

It was impossible. I found this comic book simply amazing. It’s a story with no words, just sketches made to look like old faded photographs. You know that look that the sepia effect is supposed to give to your digital photographs? On the computer it doesn’t come out right does it?

Well, Shaun Tan has succeded perfectly in conveying that old faded photograph feeling. And did it by painting a very tender story in a magical world.

It’s a story of immigration, a turn of the 20th century immigration, where people left their countries for a better future and got somewhere where they found that future and where accepted, integrated. Seen in today’s context of “fortress europe” and general xenophobia, you could say it is an overly optimistic, feel-good story. Or maybe not?

Maybe we should see it as a story of what should be. Maybe it should remind us, that we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants.

This book speaks volumes without a word in beautiful, evocative pictures. You should definitely check it out!

Here’s the US Amazon link

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