Shaun Tan, award winning illustrator and author represents the emotional migration experience through his picture book “ The Arrival”. Finding the words to describe the work of Shaun Tan can be difficult, but given Tan’s talent for visual communication, speachless seems an appropriate reaction . His unique ability to capture the heart and soul of a story through images proves the truth of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. The Arrival has one hundred and twenty eight pages of sepia-toned and monochrome, photo- realistic graphite drawings, which tell the story of a man’s migration to a foreign place and his temporary separation from his family. The absence of words, along with the mixture of surreal and real images, captures the man’s pligh perfectly; he’s in a new place where most things, including food, animals and language, are incomprehensible.
The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.