A unique and beautiful book for kids and adults that combines short stories and poetry with surrealist art -- a return to the form that made Shaun Tan a visionary in the world of graphic novels.
A young girl's cat brightens the lives of everyone in the neighborhood. A woman and her dog are separated by time and space, awaiting the day they will be reunited. A race of fish build a society parallel to our own. And a bunch of office managers suddenly turn into frogs, but find that their new lives aren't so bad.
The ambitious, unique and provocative Tales From the Inner City draws on the success of Shaun Tan's The Arrival and Tales From Outer Suburbia and updates its sensibilities for a new generation. Combining his poignant and sensitive short stories with surreal, luminous paintings, Tan turns his astute lens on the environment, cities, family and the relationships between human and animals. This work opens a portal to the imagination and captures the beauty, joy and tragedy in the everyday lives of kids, teens and adults.
Like its predecessor, Tales from Outer Suburbia, these short stories by Tan imagine a collection of alternate worlds; here, they chronicle the lives of animals who dwell cheek by jowl with humans amid urban sprawl. Tan's skill as a writer provides sturdy scaffolding for a seemingly endless stream of startling ideas. Crocodiles live on the 87th floor of an office building. Lungfish assemble in subway stations. Massive snails make love on city streets. Bears sue humans, not just for murder and genocide, but for crimes under the bear legal code: "Spiritual Exclusion, Groaking, and Ungungunurumunre."Sometimes, the animals face extinction; almost always and especially in the gorgeous, haunting paintings they display dignity and power that the book's humans lack. In one series of images, a snowy owl superintends a hospital patient, its magnificent golden eyes gleaming impassively from the bed railing. Elsewhere, a fox hangs poised in midair above a sleeping man, ready to pounce: "Your four-digit codes and firewalls.... None of it can keep me out!" In these uneasy, strange visions, moments of beauty, and even a bleak, futurological kind of joy, abides. Ages 12 up.