Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and illustrated by Keith Thomspon, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia, have in common that they are all illustrated books for young adults. That is, much of their narrative is conveyed in sophisticated illustrations that require as close a reading as does the written text. All have won awards nationally and internationally, and not only in the categories of young adult books, but in the case of Shaun Tan, in the adult field.
This paper will explore the appeal and challenge of the illustrated book to adolescent and adult audiences using as a particular example, Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia. Appropriating Foucault’s (1986) concept of heterotopia, this paper argues Tan’s unique, hybrid form of visual and verbal narrative, constructs a counter site, a ‘crisis heterotopia’ (Foucault, 1986) which challenges the dominant Australian culture in complex ways unavailable to words alone.
|Keywords:||Illustrated Book, Young Adult Novel, Heterotopias|
Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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