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Saturday, November 8, 2008

LibraryThing Early Review

Tales from Outer Suburbia
by Shaun Tan

This is an incredibly enticing book. My kids started reading the stories immediately, and I have been glancing though it looking at the illustrations. Can't wait to start the stories.

Twenty-four hours later, I too, have read this delightful book. It is whimsical and surreal and slightly melancholy. It is absolutely OK for kids, yet absolutely more subtle and sophisticated than almost anything I have ever seen offered to children.

I feel the need to check out Tan's other books in order to find out if this is his "look" or if he learned ephemera from Nick Bantock's book URGENT 2ND CLASS.

The question is: why did it require funding to get it published in his native Australia, and even more, why did it require so many levels of funding to be published in Canada, since he is not Canadian and the book was printed in China. Surely this is a book that could and will sell purely on merit, with enormous shelf appeal.

In any case, my suggestion is get a copy and spend an hour with it. It will take you to a unique and wonderful headspace: another score of the offbeat from the LT Early Reveiwer's program.


  1. Grant money always aids in the publication of a book. If you can get government funding, there is a way better chance of a manuscript being published than not. It's kind of like the government's endorsement. As for Canadian funding, where a book is actually assembled and glued together, has nothing to do with wether you get a grant to publish the book or not.

  2. Of course, but in this case, why on earth would Canadians choose to have money spent on this project on their behalf? Most of us can stomach, at least somewhat, grants to fellow Canadians unable to take their "art" to the market alone, but to be supporting a project that is completely off-shore?

    And I say this as a supporter of the arts and a person who loved the book. Was this not a commercially viable product without a grant?