Synopses & Reviews
An exchange student who's really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says...
These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan's many fans will love.
"The term 'suburbia' may conjure visions of vast and generic sameness, but in his hypnotic collection of 15 short stories and meditations, Tan does for the sprawling landscape what he did for the metropolis in The Arrival. Here, the emotional can be manifest physically (in 'No Other Country,' a down-on-its-luck family finds literal refuge in a magic 'inner courtyard' in their attic) and the familiar is twisted unsettlingly (a reindeer appears annually in 'The Nameless Holiday' to take away objects 'so loved that their loss will be felt like the snapping of a cord to the heart'). Tan's mixed-media art draws readers into the strange settings, a la The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. In 'Alert but Not Armed,' a double-page spread heightens the ludicrousness of a nation in which every house has a government missile in the yard; they tower over the neighborhood, painted in cheery pastels and used as birdhouses ('If there are families in faraway countries with their own backyard missiles, armed and pointed back at us, we would hope that they too have found a much better use for them,' the story ends). Ideas and imagery both beautiful and disturbing will linger. Ages 12up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] sparkling, mind-bending collection....Graphic-novel and text enthusiasts alike will be drawn to this breathtaking combination of words and images." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"15 extraordinary illustrated tales....The thoughtful and engaged reader will take from these stories an experience as deep and profound as with anything he or she has ever read." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"[Tan]...does not disappoint his readers with this collection of 15 vignettes, each drawing from the oddities of suburban life....[T]he stories and the art form a bridge between the fantastic world and the real world." Sarah Miller, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
About the Author
Shaun Tan is the author and illustrator of the award-winning, bestselling graphic novel THE ARRIVAL, and also TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA, a collection of illustrated short stories. Both books were named to the New York Times list of Best Illustrated Children's Books. He won an Oscar for his short film "The Lost Thing" based on a story in the book LOST & FOUND: THREE BY SHAUN TAN, and he is also the recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Shaun Tan lives in Melbourne, Australia.