(This review is cross-posted at Guys Lit Wire)
Some authors seem so crazy brilliant that I imagine I would turn into a blithering idiot if ever I had the chance to meet them. Shaun Tan is right up there on that list for me. Of course, it doesn’t help that not only is he an amazingly talented writer, but the man is one of the most gifted illustrators working right now too. Everything he has created feels important to me. Not a pretentious capital a “Artistic” kind of important. It’s more like reading Tan’s books lets you glimpse his thoughts on some of the deepest questions about what it means to be human. Reading a new Shaun Tan book is almost a spiritual experience.
Enter Tales from Outer Suburbia. You’ll find fifteen short stories, all illustrated with trademark Tan art, featuring strange happenings in the fringes of civilization (aka – suburbia). It’s really impossible to say what’s better in this slim volume – story or images. Both will captivate and charm you, and make you wonder about the extraordinary things out there in your own backyard, hiding in the places you think you know best.