I don’t review books here on Buried Words and Bushwa. Although I love to read, I prefer to leave it to people who are better at it than I could be.
I am going to talk about a book today though although it is not so much a review as a rant about how much I love it.
My family was doing a Kris Kringle this year so a friend was given all of our names to match up, and we were each given a person to buy for.
I was very hopeful that Youngest Sister would be the one to get my name. Along with my dad the two of us are the big book lovers of the family and she always gets me something wonderful.
Luckily she did, and this time she remembered my love of Shaun Tan, so one of the books in my present was the utterly wonderful Tales from Outer Suburbia.*
I am a confirmed Shaun Tan fan and one of my favourite books ever is The Arrival. No words, just pictures, and the reunion near the end brings a tear to my eye every time. You can imagine how eager I was to see what treasures Tales from Outer Suburbia might contain, and I wasn’t disappointed.
In Tales from Outer Suburbia Shaun Tan tells small tales of strange things happening in everyday places, Eric the exchange student and his departing gift, what really happens to discarded poetry, Grandpa’s wedding. The gentle stories have a feeling of both melancholy and wonder.
All of the stories are accompanied by beautiful drawings of both the instantly recognizable and the totally unexpected. Televisions with teeth and speedy legs, a vista of suburban houses all with backyard missiles, a crowd of giant clockwork birds towering over a creeping car.
As always, I have to go back to linger over his drawings. They are so simple and beautiful that whenever I pick up a Shaun Tan book it makes me want to rush out and buy a new set of drawing pencils and a fresh art book. I can’t draw of course, he just makes me want to!
*The other was Terry Pratchett’s The Compleat Ankh-Morpork, just to ensure no housework gets done at all today 😉