Read: Tales from Outer Suburbia

Someone lent me Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia recently and I devoured it in one sitting. I’ve always been a fan of Tan’s work when I’ve encountered it (with The Rabbits being the standout work in my mind), but I must have missed this one along the way.

Tan creates a series of short vignettes set in an unnamed suburban sprawl and possessing both incredible joy and a sort of indefinable melancholy (The Guardian described them as reflections “on the quiet mysteries of everyday life”). It’s the sort of experience that will be familiar to you if you’ve ever felt like a misunderstood dreamer in the suburbs …

While the prose is often sweet and some of the characters are beautifully realised (Erik and his host, for instance), it’s the illustrations that make the work really shine and tell the bulk of the stories. This is a picture book to get lost in for anyone who loves to dream. Buy it for every child and adult in your life!

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