i went to the printer's row book fair today with megan and got the arrival by shaun tan. art spiegelman blurbed it, saying that it's a "wordless story that uses the language of silent cinema and the picture-story traditions that predate comic books," and that this "masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told by way of Surrealism." i really love this book. i like that tan created "anonymous" cultures and that a lot of the images in the story don't necessarily "stand" for something, but instead give the emotion of something. tan says this:
"I am rarely interested in symbolic meanings, where one thing ‘stands for’ something else, because this dissolves the power of fiction to be reinterpreted. I’m more attracted to a kind of intuitive resonance or poetry we can enjoy when looking at pictures, and ‘understanding’ what we see without necessarily being able to articulate it. One key character in my story is a creature that looks something like a walking tadpole, as big as a cat and intent on forming an uninvited friendship with the main protagonist. I have my own impressions as to what this is about, again something to do with learning about acceptance and belonging, but I would have a lot of trouble trying to express this fully in words. It seems to make much more sense as a series of silent pencil drawings."