Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" was the basis for the new film "The Arrival." The story itself is a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of one's time on earth, and the choices we make. The movie takes it in a more plot-driven direction. But what's brilliant about the movie is that it preserves the central idea of Ted's story.
If you read the entire anthology of these stories, it's also interesting to observe that Ted's general approach is a meditative questioning of the meaning of our work, our relationships and our being in the world. I personally love these kind of slowly thoughtful and illuminating stories. But perhaps they are not for everyone. If you like your SF fast and furious, Ted Chiang is probably not your cup of tea.
Oh, and I had the pleasure of meeting Ted recently and talking with him at length. His style reflects his stories: gracious, thoughtful and insightful. A true pleasure!
This is a gorgeous graphic novel that embodies the immigrant experience. Because there are no words, the reader can decode the meaning for themselves. When the main character travels to a new land, he is faced with an alien environment. The surreal pictures make it so the environment doesn't look like any particular place. As the character makes his way through the world, he is faced with strange symbols, strange creatures and strange food. Literally everything is strange to him and to the reader. Because there are no words, I took more time to look at each picture to figure out exactly what the character was going through.
This is a touching story that can be shared with readers from age 10 to adult. Schools could pair it with history lessons. Families who move to a new place could share the book with their kids. This book helps any reader understand a bit of what immigrants go through. Highly recommended.
I read this book for my Multicultural literature class.
As promised in my post on Tales From Outer Suburbia, I have continued my quest to read more of Shaun Tan's works. I managed to get my hands on The Arrival and The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook. I love how diverse Tan is and these two books definitely showcase his range of abilities. The Bird King features his art in a variety of formats from half-formed doodles to pastels. He explains that by continuously working on his art he is able to improve his craft. It's a way to brainstorm ideas which he may or may not use in future books. He also uses it as an exercise for drawing realistic portraits. It's really minimal text-wise but very informative for students of art which is really his intended audience I think. It's difficult to explain just how powerful The Arrival is because it felt deeply personal to me. Tan manages to tell this deeply moving story without any words whatsoever. The Arrival is the story of a man who leaves his family behind to travel to a new country where he hopes to establish himself and send for his family. Everything seems alien and surreal and Tan depicts this by using fantasy elements such as tentacled animals for pets, giants sharing the skies with skyscrapers, and huge men in hazmat suits who spray poison at the unsuspecting people scurrying below. It's the wordless story of fear of the unknown and the desire to find a better place to escape the troubles of home. It struck me right in the solar plexus. The art is beautiful, the story is stirring, and the delivery is spot-on. If you want to learn what it's like start over and feel like you've entered an unfamiliar landscape then I highly recommend this book. 10/10
From The Bird King: A haunting portrait of solitude.
Reminds me of Tales From Outer Suburbia.
From The Arrival: The fear of crossing into the great unknown.
Clinging to the familiar.