Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Tales from Outer Suburbia defies labels like graphic novel and even young adult, where its often categorized.  Its a series of illustrated vignettes that revel in the absurd and magical. 

1.  Would you consider Tales from Outer Suburbia to be a graphic novel?

2.  Who is Shaun Tan’s audience?  The stories have the whimsy of children’s books but have themes too complex for younger minds. 

3.  What is the meaning of “It’s a cultural thing” in “Eric?”

4.  What were your favorite and least favorite stories?

5.  As an artist/writer, do you think Tan’s drawings inspire his stories or the other way around?

6.  What is the point of “Distant Rain?”  Is Tan telling us that our poetry/art should not be hidden from the world?

7.  Are there any overarching themes you sensed throughout the collection?  What is “outer suburbia?”

8.  Tan has said “I don’t think I’ve ever painted an image as a reproduction of what I’m seeing, even when I’m working in front of it. I’m always trying to create some kind of parallel equivalent.”  How does this information inform your opinion of his work?  Does this ring true with The Arrival as well?

9.  Tan’s Outer Suburbia seems to be unfamiliar but safe.  Conflict and harm are generally solved quickly and easily.  Why?