The Arrival

It’s been a while since I recommended a book here on the blog.

So here we go.

Simply said: I don’t think it would be possible for me to like this book any more than I do.

I read it last night, and today I ordered five more copies just to give away as gifts.

It’s entirely pictures. No text at all. It is lovely and strange and stirring and sweet. I cried a bit.

That’s all there is to say, really. If you’re looking for something a little different to read, you should check this out. It’s beautiful.


This entry was posted in recommendationsBy Pat27 Responses


  1. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Awesome. So much want.

    • aurora nightlights
      Posted June 16, 2011 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

      Arrival By Shaun Tan is a brillant book however my favourite book by Shaun Tan is “The Red Tree”. That is a beautiful book and has got me through some hard times.

  2. Posted June 5, 2011 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    Looks cool to me!

  3. LaisLindsay
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    Total sweetness. Great illustrations are mesmerizing. I remember the first book I ever read (Downy Duck Grows Up) for the pictures as much as the story. I was nosing around the Alibris site last year and found a copy which I quickly ordered. As soon as it arrived I ripped open the package and literally burst into tears at the sight of the cover illustration. It took me right back to being a little kid, sitting inside a dusty cardboard box and reading. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. redcrest
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    Ahh, this is on my To-Read list! I read an in-depth review of it somewhere that really made me want to rush out and read it. I think the reviewer said something like, ” no one draws a smiling face like Shaun Tan” and included this truly beautiful picture of a middle-aged asian man smiling so big his eyes got all crinkled on the edges. It was really a beautiful image, and you’re right, Pat–I got the full impact of that panel without reading a single word. A good picture–pictures by a truly great artist like Shaun Tan–is really worth a thousand words.

  5. Posted June 6, 2011 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    I’ve had this in my hands a couple of times but never bought it. I guess it’s time, though.

  6. Joan
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    I adore Shaun Tan. He’s is such a great artist. Do you know that he won the oscar for his short film The Lost Thing?

  7. nr
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 4:37 AM | Permalink

    I cried when I read this too! It was in an awkward social situation and I didn’t want to look too sissy in front of my girlfriend but I think she might have gotten a bit sniffly herself…

  8. Posted June 6, 2011 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Registered just to say I agree whole-heartedly, and it’s lovely to see a book like this get more exposure!
    It’s a beautiful book, and a fantastic example of what visual storytelling can be. Imo anyone who ever wants to write a comic should be forced to read this (or possibly The Walking Man – or both) first so they understand that you don’t need narration or script to convey story or character or scene!

  9. priscellie
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    I adore Shaun Tan. I was cheering like a maniac when he won the Oscar.

  10. Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    You’re a missionary for this book! That’s what you told me when I mentioned that I might have given away a dozen copies of your book.

    This looks amazing…

  11. angelajs85
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    You may also like the series ‘The Tapestry’ by Neff, Henry H. Great book. I’m buying ‘The Arrival’ I’m sure it’ll be great! Thanks for the suggestion.

  12. QWOPtain Crunch
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    There’s nothing more nostalgic than reading a good picture book. It takes people way back to the days when they were kids where pictures were the most sought out things in literature.

  13. Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Looks gorgeous! I love Shaun Tan’s work

  14. Tungil
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    I just had to buy it instantly after your recommendation and some on amazon. Thanks for sharing! :)

  15. kaleid
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    Shaun Tan is great. I hope you read some of his other books as well. ” The Red Tree” is my personal favourite, though I would also recommend ” Eric” . As you probably know, as well as an Oscar he recently won the Astrid Lindgren memorial award, one of the most prestigious awards for childrens literature. (And I know you all understand that “children’s literature is not exclusively for the use of children). And of course, he was the artist guest of honour at last year’s Worldcon in Australia.

  16. mistress immaculate
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    i teach sections of this novel in my intro. to literature class. it’s a perfect vehicle for deepening their understanding of metaphor and tone. a lovely work, thanks for referencing it!

  17. farleykj
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Ah, yes, this is a precious book.
    Your mention of it gives me to opportunity to share something that was posted by The Guardian way back in 2009. It, too, is wonderful.

  18. James F
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

    For anyone interested in stories of the immigrant experience — and especially for Midwesterners — I’ve pimped the movie “Sweet Land” for years and I’ll pimp it here. (I never register on fanblogs, but thought it was worth it here to pimp “Sweet Land.” It’s what I do.)

    The story is about a German immigrant to mostly Scandinavian Minnesota in the WWI era, when nobody likes Germans. The opening is deliberately confusing. Stick with it. About 30 minutes in, as the German starts learning enough English to express herself, it’s clear that the confusion was meant to make you feel as lost as someone would in a strange new country. The writer/director, Ali Selim, is half-Minnesotan and half-Egyptian, so the material obviously means a lot to him. By the end it’ll mean a lot to viewers, too.

    And why do I ceaselessly pimp this movie? Because every time I write about it, I get chills. When I saw it, a young couple came out of the previous showing complaining about how “artsy” the film was. I wondered why the staff didn’t let me in. Then, five minutes later, the rest of the (older) crowd came out. They were all crying, and they all stayed for the entire end credits. See it and get why.

  19. LaisLindsay
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    I was at the library this evening with my daughter, perusing the kids audiobooks when I turned around and saw The Arrival waiting for me. Pat, thanks so much for this recommendation. The Arrival is stellar. The images are intricately detailed, and flow so smoothly that the absence of text isn’t even noticeable. The layout is mesmerizing. The spacing of the drawings and the manner in which Tan pans out from a single subject to a totally surreal cityscape is stunning. Tan deflty whittles away the excess and smooths the rough edges of a difficult topic revealing the simple, poignant beauty of the immigration experience. Oddly enough, his style is graphically the equivelent of yours, Pat.

  20. deltaflip
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    I looked it up on Amazon. It let me peek at it as far as the dragon tail….I need this book.

  21. court88
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

    Hes so amazing. We stock quite a few of his books in my bookstore and they’re all brilliant. I personally love The Red Tree the best :) Plus hes a fellow Aussie and from Perth which makes him all the more awesome!!

  22. The Wise Mans Fear
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

    OMG!!! Pat I’m in grade 7 and absolutely adore you and your work I think, no I KNOW YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANT WRITERS EVER!!!! My english assignment for the end of this Semester is to narrate a certain Chapter of the Arrival and I chose six. I love writing and there’s a limit to how much you write on the assignment which I believe is wrong. It is a wonderful book of an amazing story :) Also please check the photo contest email again cause I did send mine I while ago but I’m not sure if you got it or not.

  23. bwilbers42
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    Absolutely loved your Wind and Fear books! Did Bast hire the soldiers to get Kvothe to fight and be a hero again or will all be revealed in your next book. Can’t wait!

  24. TwoPlusSave
    Posted June 16, 2011 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    Lost and Found made me cry. Hard.

    Also, finding all the red leaves was incredibly satisfying for inner-8-year-old me.

  25. Posted June 16, 2011 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Is it possible for someone to enjoy a book more than they do? The amount of love I have for a book, I find, is exactly equal to the amount of love I have for a book.

  26. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

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