The Arrival

“Tan’s lovingly laid out and masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told.” — Art Spiegelman, author of Maus
“An absolute wonder.” — Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis
“A magical river of strangers and their stories!” — Craig Thompson, author of Blankets
“A shockingly imaginative graphic novel that captures the sense of adventure and wonder that surrounds a new arrival on the shores of a shining new city. Wordless, but with perfect narrative flow, Tan gives us a story filled with cityscapes worthy of Winsor McCay.” — Jeff Smith, author of Bone

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18 thoughts on “The Arrival

  1. This book is amazing how they have written a book differently with pictures and that you never know what is going to happen next.

  2. The arrival is an incredible book. I never thought so much could be said without words. The story beautifully describes the journey of a man to a new land.
    One of my favourite parts is the very beginning where his home city is covered in a swirling black fog and he has to leave his family. The reason I found this so intriguing is because Shaun Tan has managed to perfectly capture the emotion in a few simple pictures.
    I also found The Arrival so interesting because of the way foreign food and animals were perceived: depicted like strange little monsters. It is such a perfect description of how it feels to be homesick and the sensation of being in a foreign world.
    This was one of the best books I’ve ever read. A clever and well thought piece of work.

  3. The Arrival by Shaun Tan is really complex, but easy to read, and leaves you poring over the pages for hours! I really enjoy how it leaves itself to be interpreted as you like, as it is made up of intricate drawings, there is nothing telling you what is and what isn’t, only an empty space waiting for your own ideas.

    It shows a man who leaves his wife and child and goes out, travels to a new land, with strange customs, weird animals, and intriguing people. The Arrival perfectly describes what it is like to be a migrant, leaving everything you know for a better life, but it being new and bewildering. The softly shaded pictures tell the story in a way words might not have been able to communicate, raw emotions and new experiences.
    The use of purely pictures also emphasises the fact that the man doesn’t understand the language of the land he has found himself in.

    I really liked that it was done in drawings, as it gave you space to explore and think about what it means. The characters felt real and you felt sympathy for them, hoped with them, learned about the foreign land with them. There is no part that I can say was my favourite, as the detail and intricacy made me love the entire book. The story kept me turning the pages, wanting to know more, as much as I could about his life, and once I’d finished I turned back and read it again, each time understanding things more.

    The Arrival also ties in with refugees and migration in the world now, showing readers what it is like, how it feels to arrive in a country with nothing, only the hope for a better life.

    I would recommend The Arrival to slightly older readers, but the beauty of it is that anyone can read it, and understand it in their own way, take their own meaning from it. The art is beautiful and the story line moving, I would definitely give it 5/5 stars.

  4. Rating: *****

    Summary: A AMAZING picture book

    Details: This book is probably one of the best I’ve ever had. One of the main reasons its so good is that its so good is that its all pictures so you can sort of decide what more or less happens during the story. I reccommend this book to anyone.

  5. The Arrival follows a man who departs his home and his family and himself have to relocates to a foreign land, where he struggles to settle in, while always dreaming of being back together with his family. The book’s wordlessness reflects in the man’s non-existence of the language spoken in the new country. As a reader of The Arrival, we walk in the shoes of an immigrant. There are no words to understand and nothing seems straightforward. The book is bejewelled with exquisite illustrations with meaningful messages.

  6. Mrs Harris
    This is a beautifully crafted book and I loved it. It is obvious that the author has spent hours upon hours considering how best to convey the story through pictures without hindering or constraining the reader’s imagination to create their own story.

    I am far more used to reading books with words, where what is written down is the story. In this book I took time to consider different interpretations of the pictures, questioning my first response and actively deciding if that is how the story actually played out. I found myself deeply involved with the characters, just as if there were words – which was quite a surprise to me.

    This book made me think: about what was the oppressive power that caused the family to emigrate; what had happened to them before the main character left and how did their lives continue once reunited.

    I felt relief at the ‘happy’ ending and the sense that there are ordinary people helping others but was left with a sense that perhaps we should all do more to help those people who find themselves a long way from home.

  7. Anastacia 8T
    The Arrival is a spectacular graphic novel. The sad yet real tale of an immigrant is something that needed to be told, and Shaun Tan did a spectacular job at it. Not only was the main story line moving but the extra stories of children forced to go into child labor, war and fear, were an incredibly moving touch. Of course the story is up for the readers personal interpretation and with detailed drawings like these every single different story is bound to be a beautiful one. The struggle of this immigrants life. The end of this story truly made me smile. They aren’t just pictures, these have the power to change the way people think. I would thoroughly recommend this book, I am so glad I read it myself.

  8. This book is great as it allows the reader to interpret the story line in his own way.
    It is one of the few graphic novels that I have read but I think that they are just as fascinating.

    Arrival is amazing. As it is one of the few picture books that I have read I think that in some ways it is even more detailed than a book, ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. This lets the reader interpret the storyline in his own way from the brilliantly illustrated pictures which I think is fantastic.
    I definitely recommend it for you!

  9. A thrilling and captivating adventure, a must-read and a good start for someone who has never read a novel.

  10. Arrival is amazing. As it is one of the few picture books that I have read I think that in some ways it is even more detailed than a book, ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. This lets the reader interpret the storyline in his own way from the brilliantly illustrated pictures which I think is fantastic.
    I definitely recommend it for you!

  11. Arrival was an inspiring book that even without words was an enjoyable book, the animals were cool and I got lost in the book

  12. I think this book is very interesting and different because it is full of pictures. I was spending ages reading it and I could not put it down! I liked it very much.

  13. I love this graphic novel with no words. Although it is sad, it was a fantastic read and I love the little animals they all had.

  14. I must admit that at first I was very dubious about a graphic novel being part of the award, and then to find it had no words!

    I couldn’t have been more wrong –the art work is both beautiful, challenging and thoughtful.

    And this book , yes it is a book, not a “comic”, tells the story of how it must feel to emigrate to another country very well.

    As a reader –you are Reading the pictures -we feel for the émigré as he seeks to build a better economic future for his family. And we obviously can relate it to Britain today and how the Brexit vote felt to many Eastern Europeans living, working and actively contributing to our society in Britain.

    Then we are told the stories of those who fled their country for an alien land for political or security reasons!

    This certainly brings home the message that we should welcome and support everyone on our shores regardless of colour, or faith.

    I thoroughly recommend this novel.

  15. This is my favourite book it is so exciting .It is also good because I have never had to read a book with no words only pictures.

  16. This book is great, and mysterious, as you never are sure about what is going on. This is because it has no words – it is a picture book – which makes you have to think.

  17. This is an amazing book, everyone who reads it will come up with a different variation. The drawings are atmospheric and you are empathising with the characters at all the different stages of their journey.

  18. This book is absolutely fantastic!!!
    It makes you think a lot and as its only pictures,you could spend hours looking at it.I love it because you can think and make up your own story if you don’t understand.
    I thoroughly recommend this book.

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