Haunting and melancholy short pieces from the trancendentally talented Shaun Tan. The first, The Red Tree, is a breathtakingly beautiful look at depression and hope. The second, The Lost Thing, is an even more powerful take on what is lost when children become adults, and what goes unobserved when perspective changes. The third, The Rabbits is an astonishing summary of colonial imperialism and the devastation of a society- Australia.
I don't know how he does it. Through these dreamy paintings and collages (and SO MUCH hidden in the backgrounds) Tan creates a world filled with threats and oppression, with the tiniest but most inspiring pockets of beauty.
Even the language in these stories went above and beyond what I had hoped for from someone I think of as an artist rather than a writer, and in fact had me weeping.
From The Rabbits:
"Where is the rich, dark earth,
brown and moist?
Where is the smell of rain
dripping from the gum trees?
Where are the great billabongs,
the river swollen lakes,
alive with long legged birds?"