Jetlagged and confused, my mind still half living in Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End of the World (I was reading it in Italian, translated by Antonietta Pastore. The Italian title, La fine del mondo e il paese delle meraviglie, leaves out the hard-boiled part. I wonder what's the exact meaning of the Japanese title: , Sekai no Owari to Hādo-boirudo Wandārando), the novel by my beloved Haruki Murakami that I avidly read on the plane.
Happy to be home, with in my mind the images of another beautiful book, a gift from my friend Theresa Wong: The Arrival, a wordless graphic novel by Shaun Tan.
As Taun himself writes in his website (where you can find much more about this and other books, and also about his many other projects):
|Harbour, pencil on paper|
"I realise that I have a recurring interest in notions of ‘belonging’, particularly the finding or losing of it.(...) I think that the ‘problem’ of belonging is perhaps more of a basic existential question that everybody deals with from time to time, if not on a regular basis. It especially rises to the surface when things ‘go wrong’ with our usual lives, when something challenges our comfortable reality or defies our expectations – which is typically the moment when a good story begins, so good fuel for fiction. We often find ourselves in new realities – a new school, job, relationship or country, any of which demand some reinvention of ‘belonging’.(...) I was reminded that migration is a fundamental part of human history, both in the distant and recent past. On gathering further anecdotes of overseas-born friends – and my partner who comes from Finland – as well as looking at old photographs and documents, I became aware of the many common problems faced by all migrants, regardless of nationality and destination: grappling with language difficulties, home-sickness, poverty, a loss of social status and recognisable qualifications, not to mention the separation from family.(...) I would hope that beyond its immediate subject, any illustrated narrative might encourage its readers take a moment to look beyond the
|The City, pencil on paper|
‘ordinariness’ of their own circumstances, and consider it from a slightly different perspective. One of the great powers of storytelling is that invites us to walk in other people’s shoes for a while, but perhaps even more importantly, it invites us to contemplate our own shoes also. We might do well to think of ourselves as possible strangers in our own strange land. What conclusions we draw from this are unlikely to be easily summarised, all the more reason to think further on the connections between people and places, and what we might mean when we talk about ‘belonging’."