The Arrival (2007) is a graphic novel told without words. It is simply a beautifully illustrated novel whose wordless narrative gives readers an insider’s view of what the immigrant experience is like.
The story follows one central character in a documentary like fashion, as he leaves his wife and young daughter to make the long and arduous journey to a world that is completely unfamiliar. Courageous and brave doesn’t even begin to describe the sacrifice that it takes to leave your family behind and to rebuild your life someplace new. This graphic novel may lack words but it speaks a universal language in conveying the confusion, the frustration and the sense of displacement of living in a new country.
Why did I pick this up? Well, this novel grabbed my attention because it was apart of my Amazon recommendation list. I read the synopsis and was intrigued. Saw the Amazon five star glowing reviews and was curious. Lucky for me, my library had a copy sitting on the shelf. This was a quick read but I did go back over some of the imagery of shadows and symbolism the author uses throughout the novel to convey the sense of urgency or fear that is used as the impetus of change. I can’t say that I understood all of it but the overall message was clear enough. Of course it ends on a happy note for the family and starts the cycle over again with yet another fresh “arrival” off the boat needing help to navigate this bizarre new world. If you enjoy illustrated novels then you should pick this one at your local library. Amazon lists this title as currently being unavailable. Remember, no narrative, just pictures. My grade, B because of my high expectations. This GN wasn’t what I thought it would be.
[tags]Graphic Novel Reviews, Shaun Tan, Immigrants, Illustrated Novels[/tags]