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The Arrival Hardcover – 15 Nov 2007

80 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (15 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340969938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340969939
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 1.5 x 31.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the 'good drawer' which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits , The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is Tales from Outer Suburbia.

Product Description


All ages respond to this moving picture book, a moving tribute to displaced people. (The Sunday Times' 100 Best Children's Books) (The Sunday Times)

...a remarkable and skilful work of art. (Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times)

This book should be 'read' by adults and children alike. It's astonishing. (Marilyn Brocklehurst, Norfolk Children's Book Centre)

With this haunting, wordless sequence about a lonely emigrant in a bewildering city, Tan ... finds in the graphic novel format an ideal outlet for his sublime imagination.... few will remain unaffected by this timeless stunner. (Publishers Weekly)

Filled with both subtlety and grandeur, the book is a unique work that not only fulfills but also expands the potential of its form. (Booklist)

...an unashamed paean to the immigrant's spirit, tenacity and guts, perfectly crafted for maximum effect. (Kirkus Reviews)

Tan's lovingly laid out and masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told by way of Surrealism. (Art Spiegelman, author of Maus: A Survivor's Tale)

The Arrival is an absolute wonder. It's not often you see art of this quality, or a book that's so brave. (Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis and Embroideries)

Shaun Tan delivers 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... The Arrival is one of the best graphic novels of the year! (Jeff Smith, author of Bone)

Entirely wordless, but brimming with sounds and conversations in foreign tongues, Shaun Tan's book emanates the warmth of faded photographs... (Craig Thompson, author of Blankets)

The Arrival is beautiful... The drawings are just so lovely, endlessly detailed and wonderfully strange. And the design of the book, with it's wrinkled pages and stains and broken leather is marvellous. (Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret)

Anyone who thinks that the graphic novel is no more than a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon, ought to take a look at "The Arrival." This magnificent work not only establishes itself in a major new literary genre but raises the stakes for anyone seriously considering working in it. (David Small, Caldecott Medalist for So You Want To Be President?)

Shaun Tan's artwork creates a fantastical, hauntingly familiar atmosphere. A strange, moving, and beautiful story. (Jon J Muth, author of Zen Shorts and illustrator of Sandman)

Shaun Tan's The Arrival may be the most brilliant book of the year' (School Library journal)

This book should be 'read' by adults and children alike. It's astonishing. (Bookseller)

It will fascinate and occupy adults and children alike (The Observer)

A powerful, at times harrowing read, Tan's creation is a major achievement. (Books for Keeps)

The reader's experience, as he or she tries to make sense of the unfamiliar scenes and strange images, parallels that of the emigrant, striving to understand without the aid of language. This extraordinarily accomplished pieces of storytelling can be read and understood on many different levels. (The Guardian)

The surreal, sepia illustrations in th is remarkable book invite repeated study. Strangely beautiful and frightening, you can spend hours searching for hidden meanings and extra stories. (Carousel)

A true marvel on any bookshelf, a unique piece of at and a beautifully told story. (School Librarian)

'a brilliant wordless story of a migrant arriving in a strange, indecipherable city.' (Anthony Browne, The Telegraph)

Sited as No 35 in The Times 100 Best Books of all time. "An imaginative triumph. Every home should have one." (The Times)

'Tan delineates the strange, sad experience of immigration in stunning, sepia-toned, exquisitely detailed, wordless panels. An imaginative triumph. Every home should have one.' (The Times 100 Best Books of the Decade -at 35)

Stunning illustrations... poignant and atmospheric. (Observer)

A wordless work of art. (Sunday Express (Cressida Cowell))

Book Description

Award-winning author/illustrator Shaun Tan brings us a powerful and evocative wordless graphic novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By N.J. Hynes on 27 Feb. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I would recommend this book on the strength and beauty of the drawings alone, but I am happy to say that it also tells a moving, compelling story. It captures well that first encounter with a new country, the "arrival" when one is geting to know a new place, new language, new foods and trying to make sense of it all. Is this world safer than the one you've left behind? What dangers forced you to leave?

Through using elements of fantasy, it avoids an easy exoticism and prevents us from patronising the main characters -- we don't understand this world either, can't read its language, don't recognise its animals or know how its machines work. We aren't sure what is safe and what is not. We would like to believe the world is benign, but we don't know, and there seem infinite possiblities for things to go wrong. In this tension, it also captures the importance of the kindness of strangers and of fellow immigrants, whose sometimes painful back-stories are conveyed beautifully and concisely in one or two pages of images.

All this, without the use of words. A remarkable achievement.

I am an immigrant by choice, not necessity (as are many of the characters in this story), but I know what I will be giving my friends and relatives for years to come.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jack Shuttleworth on 26 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Leave those you love behind to face a fearful future. Arrive in a bewildering place - strange and uncaring. Slowly friendly strangers help you move around, make sense of bizarre food, and begin to make sense of this place. Every good person has tale to tell. Most have beautiful surreal pets too. A testament to one of the bravest acts of humanity - to leave everything behind and seek a future for you and your family in another world.

Shaun Tan has produced another work that combines the surreal with profound human experience. This is more clearly aimed at a older audience - some adults found the 'picture book' format a barrier to engaging with 'The Red Tree'. The artwork and presentation is beautifully done - the paper is detailed like aged documents - spots of mould or cracks where a picture has been kept in a pocket - give a feel of a treasured scrapbook of life-changing moments.

The book is wordless - and unlike his previous works, has many smaller drawings (some can be seen at his website). They are all pencilled with subtle colours added, giving a more sombre feel that previous works, but the story and his wonderful details quickly capture your full attention.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Length: 0:24 Mins
Even wonder what it's like to be an immigrant moving to a new place to look for work, to see and experience a whole new world? The Arrival will tell you the story of someone who made this journey.

This beautiful book is designed like a worn out photo album from the past, not sure which past if the photo on the cover is anything of a hint. The book opens to a wall of immigrant photos, just like those you'll see in Ellis Island Museum. Several drawings of immigrant processing, passport pictures, and the "arrival hall" are based on photographs taken at Ellis Island.

The story starts with a man putting a photo of his family carefully into his luggage. It's early morning. His wife and daughter are walking him to the train station. The scene cuts to show the town he's leaving from, one that's inhabited by gigantic black tentacles. At the train station, you can see the sadness in the eyes of her daughter, who only manages to break into a sad smile when her dad pulls a paper crane from under his hat to cheer her up. They hug and bid farewell. The train leaves. The mother and girl then walk back home under the shadows of the tentacles.

You can tell the tremendous amount of research and thought put in the panels. Shaun Tan has put little nuances and details everywhere, enabling readers to fully immerse themselves in the new world feeling the sense of wonder and foreignness as a new immigrant might. When the man is in the arrival hall of the immigration building, he undergoes the health checkups, questioning by officers on the purpose of his visit before he's approved entry.

He finds his job, made new friends and we learn their stories and more of this strange world. The last act ends happily with the man inviting his wife and daughter over.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frank Cuppicheo on 27 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
While it doesn't take long to "read", its artwork is just so captivating. The reason I put read in quotes is that there aren't any words, just pictures. But the artwork that is there, is just outstanding. You could take forever just engrossed in the beautiful artwork that is inside of this book. The story that is told through this artwork is really great. Its basically the story of a man who travels to a new place and is dependent on the kindness of strangers. All in all, a great story that everyone should take a look at. May I also recommend The Fates by Tino Georgiou. A Brilliant novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. morris on 14 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Living proof that picture books are not just for children, The Arival by Shaun Tan is one of the best books of the year. Not an easy read, there is so much in each and every one of the wonderful pictures. This is a book to read again and again and each time there will be something there that was hidden before. The man is a genius. This should be on the shortlist for the Booker prize.
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