Sunday, December 23, 2007
Unlike the other books on my Best of 2007 Countdown, Shaun Tan's The Arrival is a picture book of sorts. Tan tells the story of an immigrant to a strange land, filled with odd creatures, different customs, with an indecipherable writing system. Throughout the tale, we see not just the images that the nameless immigrant experiences, but we also see him interacting with others, hearing their stories (which we "see" via very vivid images, some of them quite violent in nature).
When I read this back in October, I could not help but to think that this was the closest I had yet come to experiencing a strange setting. The creatures were fantastical, the buildings just a bit "off" as to be unsettling, and the entire story left me feeling as though I had been displaced - something that some of the best stories in the speculative fiction branch of literature ought to do. But instead of wasting more words on this, let me paste here a few images that Tan himself has made available via his website:
Hopefully these images will give you more insight into why I chose The Arrival to be on my Best of 2007 Countdown.