mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Lunar emmigration. (10)

The Arrival by Shaun Tan.

Giants with vaccuums!
The moon's Ellis Island--
Xenomorph's curled tongue.

I really liked this, & condemn anyone's ambivilance! First off, it isn't at all what I assumed it was. I guess from the cover I assumed this was some kind of Lilo & Stitch tale; & I had heard buzz about the giants vaccuuming up a city, so I thought I don't know, it would get Trouble with Tribbles. NO! Not at all, actually. The eponymous "arrival" is in fact the human main character. The story is actually an immigration tale. Actually, the story is a not-disgusting immigration story! I don't know, it blindsided me & I was impressed by it. There aren't any words-- there is writing, alien writing, & the orthography is quite compelling. The letters seem to contain meaning-- like they've been flipped, mirrored, & pruned. You can't unravel the meaning, though, putting you in the same confusing place as the protagonist.

So what we've got is the main character leaving a home-- a wife & child-- threatened by Jack & the Beanstalkish thorny vines. He gets into a ballooned elevator & goes to a new world. Oh, man-- the new world is really well done. Again-- I disproportionately enjoy worldbuilding, & this has oceans of sneaky detail, almost like one of those Eleventh Hour type books. The previously mentioned writing systems, the odd foods & animals, the architecture, the object d'art, everything is kind of akilter. For all the alienation, that isn't the point of the story-- the point of the story is success. He triumphs & gets a job! He triumphs & makes friends, buys food! You see snapshots of how other people came to the "new world," which are enriched with their own details-- soldiers in pointy caps, the long-awaited vaccuuming giants, so forth. Then in the end his family comes, & his daughter grows up American enculturated in the "new world." So yeah-- this super-patriotic book makes me really like New York & America all over again.
Tags: books, haiku

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