Publisher: Templar Publishing
Category: Short Stories/Graphic Novel
My Thoughts: Do you ever find yourself reading a collection of short stories and thinking “this one will be my favourite in the whole collection” and then finding that each successive one is more of a favourite? That was my feeling while reading Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan. It is a wonderful book with wonderful stories and beautiful illustrations. I mean it starts out so well with the different stories as postage stamps on an envelope, each picture with the cost being the page number.
Each story touched something deep inside me. From “Eric” the exchange student whom no one quite knows if he is happy and who has strange customs but when he leave, gives the family a beautiful gift, and leaves them missing him. To “Alert” where people made bombs into beautiful ornaments. To “Grandpa’s Story” with the story about the trials one goes through early in a marriage/relationship and the importance of co-operation to make the relationship work. But as a writer of poetry I rarely show to others my absolute favourite was “Distant Rain”. Both the story and the graphic resonate with me. The way the story was told on different scraps of papers with different handwriting was so incredibly perfect it literally took my breath away.
I have been wanting to read Shaun Tan for quite some time, ever since I saw this review of his books The Arrivals and The Red Tree from Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot. When he won the ALMA Prize I knew I had to read something by him, so when I spotted Tales from Outer Suburbia in a display at the local library where I work I snatched it up…now I think I will need to buy a copy for myself, as well as copies of his other books. This is a book I will return to often I think.