Tales From Outer Suburbia Hardcover – 2 Mar 2009
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The term 'suburbia' may conjure visions of vast and generic sameness, but in his hypnotic collection of 15 short stories and meditations, Tan does for the sprawling landscape what he did for the metropolis in The Arrival. Here the emotional can be manifest physically ... and the familiar is twisted unsettlingly. Ideas and imagery both beautiful and disturbing will linger. Source: Publishers Weekly
'Tales of Outer Suburbia' transforms the realms of the everyday into the extraordinary. At points abstract and sometimes surreal, the short stories and fine art evoke childhood environs that are familiar but where emotion and experience is distorted. Reassessing the parameters of childhood and of the worlds children inhabit, this is a book that will be read and returned to time and again. Author: Jake Hope Source: The Bookseller
This beautifully illustrated book takes a quirky look at some of the mysteries of urban life. Once you start reading it's very hard to stop reading more of these short stories filled with darkness and delight. Author: Julia Eccleshare Source: Lovereading4Kids
Yet another masterpiece from the creator of the extraordinary The Arrival. You only have to peruse the cover to know that you are going to be in for a strange and wonderful trip through the more esoteric parts of this most accomplished of author/artist's imagination. Readers will find out why dogs bark in the middle of the night, and uncover the other mysteries of everyday life. Source: The Children’s Bookseller
This collection of stories is a work of art. The illustrations include etchings, woodcuts, collages, pastels, lithographs and paint, and are variously indebted to, among others, comic strips, Edward Hopper and Samuel Palmer. The images draw the viewer through street scenes and strange landscapes. Some of the stories are told partly or entirely in pictures, expressing ideas that make words seem inadequate. Meanwhile, the text relates surreal, lyrical, witty tales of exceptional events set in ordinary life: an attic leads to a mysterious garden in the middle of a house; two squabbling brothers go exploring to prove or disprove a bet that the world ends where the street map does - only to reach a final chasm that they can hang their legs over; and in one satirical gem, every household has its own intercontinental ballistic missile in the back yard. Author: Nicolette Jones Source: Sunday Times
This is a stunningly illustrated collection of quirky short stories from an award winning author. Featuring homemade pets, dangerous weddings and secret rooms filled with darkness and delight. Tales from Outer Suburbia is a truly beautiful book. Source: Mums and Dads magazine
Although a relative newcomer to picturebook creation, Shaun Tan has established himself as a leading practitioner. In Tales from Outer Suburbia he again offers something different from his earlier work, although not unexpectedly perhaps, given the directions we have seen him taking. .... Each of the stories brings something of a narrative jolt for the reader and each page turn carries a visual surprise - think Raymond Carver meets Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected undercut with a bit of The Far Side. The book itself is a superb artefact: the cover nudges at a sense that all is not predictable within, the endpapers are full of drawings from Tan's sketch book, the contents are displayed in the form of postage stamps. Every home, in suburbia and elsewhere, should have one of these. Source: Inis – The Children’s Books Ireland Magazine
This may be the most beautiful book you'll see all year. It's an illustrated collection of stories set in the Australian suburbs, about how the fantastic keeps erupting into the most mundane daily lives. Once you've read it, you may find yourself feeling as though an exchange student from another planet has dropped by and left a glowing matchbox garden in your kitchen cupboard. Source: The Guardian
"This is a book to treasure, with more to discover on each re-reading". Source: Book Trust
"Dip into this anywhere and you will come up with a gem. This is a truly unique book". Source: 2010 UKLA Children’s Book Awards – Special commendation
Do you remember the water buffalo at the end of our street, or the deep-sea diver we found near the underpass? Do you know why dogs bark in the middle of the night?A new picture book from the international award-winning illustrator Shaun Tan, "Tales from Outer Suburbia" is a unique and inspiring collection of original stories and illustrations.Shaun Tan, creator of "The Arrival", "The Lost Thing" and "The Red Tree", reveals the quiet mysteries of everyday life: homemade pets, dangerous weddings, and secret rooms filled with darkness and delight!See all Product description
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Page 8. Eric: the exchange student who came to stay and the wonderful gift that he left.
Page 24. broken toys. The story of the man in the diving suit who spoke Japanese. During which he is taken to the house of Mrs Bad News after the children do the Special Handshake of Unbreakable agreement.
Page 28. Distant Rain: a poem. Includes the words: "the truth is that unread poetry will almost always be just that. Doomed to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia"
Page 36. undertow - a story about a dugong (a plant-eating mammal that lives in the Indian Ocean).
Page 40. grandpa's story: the story of the wedding on the other side of the hill.
Page 65. Stick figures. Young children sometimes dress them in old clothes and hats as if they were dolls or scarecrows, and are always scolded by parents, whose reasons are unclear. `Just don't,' they say sternly. Some older boys take great delight in beating them with baseball bats, golf clubs, or whatever is at hand, including the victim's snapped off limbs. With careful aim a good strike will send the head - a faceless clod of earth - flying high into the air. The body remains passively upright until smashed to splinters between heels and asphalt.
Page 80. wake, which begins: "on a cold night last winter there was a fire at the house of a man who only days before had beaten his dog to death."
Page 92. night of the turtle rescue - which ends with the words "keep going, keep going, keep going."
The pictures are all and everything. The words don't really explain them, because this is outer suburbia where a dog may speak French, a cat may be a saint, and a TV may grow arms to hold the very small children placed in front of it.
Disturbing, surreal, compulsively alarming, mischievous, beautiful and strange.