This is a picture-book collection of 15 short stories.
So far, this is my least favorite book by Shaun Tan, and that’s really just because it’s a SS collection. Like other collections, I felt rushed and overwhelmed reading it, even though I spread it out over 4-5 days. Because I read it as a whole, I don’t think I got as much out of the stories as I would have had I read them separately. However, I own the book, which means I’m going to be able to go back and revisit stories individually over time. When I say it’s my “least favorite,” I still liked the book. I’m glad I have it. I want to go try to read a story a week or so and just languish over them. I have a feeling I’ll like the book much better after doing that.
There was only one story I didn’t really like, which was “The Amnesia Machine,” and that was only because it was on such a busy panel that I couldn’t take everything in. I don’t even know what it was about. My favorite stories were “Broken Toys,” “No Other Country,” and “Distant Rain.” “Broken Toys” is about monsters and reunions and getting to understand people better. The book’s cover art comes from it. “No Other Country” is about a family trying to settle into life in a new place and what they discover there in the midst of their sorrows. “Distant Rain” talks about what happens to the poetry we write but never let anyone see. All three were touching stories and beautifully illustrated.