Cultural · fiction · Graphic Novel · Library Challenge · Small Book

The Arrival

― Shaun Tan

Why I’m Reading this Book?

I’m reading this book as part of my Omaha public library challenge for 2021 under the ‘about Refugees or the Immigrant Experience’ category. 


This book is without words. An immigrant story is told in pictures. But story is so poignant that words really don’t feel necessary.

My Review…

When I started this book, I didn’t know that it is a graphic novel and I didn’t know there are no dialogues in this book. For first few pages I just looked at pictures thinking story will soon start. But then I realized, holy cow, there are no dialogues , so I went back and then really looked at those sketches.

Story starts like any story of an immigrant starts. Trouble at home, violence and poverty makes it really impossible to raise a family, so a man decides to immigrate. He packs few of his possession with him, leaves his wife and daughter, and arrives at a foreign land. He slowly learns the way of the land. During this time he falls many times, and picks himself again. Gradually he starts earning and then one day comes when he can arrange for his family to come. Story ends with his daughter helping another immigrant just like someone helped her father in the past.

Overall story seems very simple, but it’s illustrated so beautifully that one is amazed to understand all the emotions, struggle and loneliness of an immigrant just by looking at those pictures. I’m not sure if the protagonist was deaf/dumb and that’s why story was told from his perspective, or writer just forego the dialogues because they weren’t really needed. There was also no specific country specified. But overall story marks deep impression over a reader.

This is truly an example of adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.

My Rating — 4

On the scale of: (1- Hate , 2- Neither like nor dislike, 3- Like, 4- Love, 5- Gaga)

Why anyone else should read this Book?

A unique book that handled such a complicated topic and executed it so masterfully. Graphic novel and without dialogues and about immigrants. I’ve never seen/read anything like it. It was an amazing experience. For that only, you can read it.

As with all graphic novels, you can read it in half an hour, so no big time investment and if you are into graphic novels, it should be a must.

“Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.” – Amy Chua


2 thoughts on “The Arrival

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