Monday, November 16, 2009

graphic narration - pictures without words

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a beautiful graphic novel that explores the immigrant experience. Set in a whimsical version of New York, where strange devices abound and helpful little creatures roam, the reader follows one man as he tries to make sense of his new home. The fantastic setting places the reader in the same defamiliarized position as the arrival himself, and the complete lack of narrative text or dialogue (the story is told completely without words) conveys the experience of landing in a place with an unfamiliar language.

The narration itself is well done; completely without words the author is able to convey dialogue and shifts in focalization--the arrival is told stories by the people he meets, and not once was i confused as to who was "speaking." Amazing.

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