One day a man gets on a boat and sails to a faraway land in search of a better life for his family. He has to navigate the ridiculously complicated systems of this strange world where everything looks odd and the language is completely new to him and everything from the food to the appliances is foreign. It’s a struggle, but he meets other immigrants along the way who encourage and help him create a home for his faraway family.
With that kind of summary you might be surprised to learn that there is not a single English word in this entire book. Tan’s mastery of human facial expression, his fantastical yet relatable sketches, and the cinematic conventions he uses from image to image paint a clear, stunningly detailed story of a man just trying to survive in a foreign world.
If you want a taste of the Immigrant experience, you’ll find no better than Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.