Tales from Outer Suburbia

Title: Tales from Outer Suburbia
Author: Shaun Tan
Pub Date: 2008
Pages: 93
Genre: Graphic Short Stories, Picture Book
Challenges: GN

*le sigh*

Seriously. That was exactly what I was doing after each couple of pages. Have you ever read a book that you just wanted to crawl up inside of because it doesn't just transport you mentally, but emotionally? I don't really consider myself a visual person, when I read I don't get full images, rather what draws me in is the essence of the story. Tales of Outer Suburbia, however, drew in all of my senses.

I cannot even tell you which story was my favorite! Was it the Water Buffalo? In this tale, a wise water buffalo lives in the vacant lot in a neighborhood. He's a somewhat lazy buffalo who ignores all of the passerbys unless they need him. Because, as I said, *this* water buffalo is a wise one. If you have a question, ask the buffalo and he'll always point you in the right direction. I mean, really? I buddha-esque buffalo? Why can't he live down my street? Oh, and here he is, just in case you wanna ask him something!

Oh my gosh, and then there's this story about poems that people have written and have forgotten all about. Tan takes you on a journey: "the truth is that unread poetry will almost always be just that doomed to join a vast, invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia".

The images are perfect, scraps of paper being tossed aside, only to slowly grow into this huge ball of unwantedness. Finally, when the mass has grown to darken the world, it bursts, leaving whispers of words to fall to the ground.

*le sigh*

Or what about the story of house number seventeen where a dugong magically appears in their front lawn? (Undertow) I so want to go and sit with a group of people and read these stories out loud and have a group sigh and share in the beauty.


  1. This was a beautiful book. I wish I'd read it slower because I tend to tune out short stories when I read them too fast. I'm glad I own it so I can read it again and again.

  2. I keep hearing how good Shaun Tan is, but I have yet to read one of his books. I love the picture of the buffalo, it looks lovely.

  3. The water buffalo illustration was my favorite of the book.

  4. I don't usually read short stories and I've never read a graphic novel, but I may have to change my ways. This book looks and sounds beautiful.


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