The Arrival by Shaun Tan
2006, 128 pages
To be honest, I'm not quite sure how to review this book. I've never delved into the realm of graphic novels before now, and The Arrival isn't exactly your typical graphic novel anyway: told exclusively in pictures, Tan relies on his images to tell his story, rather than words.
Outwardly the story of an immigrant leaving his family behind to move to a new country, Tan mixes the very real feelings of a new immigrant with a fantastical world that contains just enough of reality to be heartbreaking and just enough fantasy to convey the strangeness of arriving in a new country.
Reading a story comprised entirely of pictures was a new experience for me, and it required some effort on my part. At several points I had to skim backwards to really understand the story that was being told, and I hadn't expected the fantasy elements coming in. However, Tan's artwork is amazing and you can see the effort he put into every detail of the story - even two pages devoted entirely to the sky during the protagonist's journey.
I definitely gained something from reading this book, and would recommend it to any fan of graphic novels, but with the proviso that if this is your first exposure to the medim (as it was mine), it might be a bit jarring at first.