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The Red Tree

The Red Tree back

Shaun Tan


Page 45 Review by Stephen

From the creator of THE ARRIVAL, Page 45's Comicbook of the Month December 2007, this too will give you pause for thought, especially if you're a young person lost in the world.

It's not so much a story as a short evocation which is heralded by a McKean-like clock against a Van Gogh cornfield, letters leaking from its base as they do from the child's megaphone on the previous page. Inside it's leaves piling up on the girl's bedroom floor before the surrealism really kicks in courtesy of an enormous coelacanth floating down the high street above her. It's not the last of the leviathans to come crashing onto the pages, either.

"Darkness overcomes you... Nobody understands... The world is a deaf machine..."

Interpret it as you will. To me, with its padlocked windows it's an exploration of bewilderment, helplessness and hopelessness - the struggles most of us face, when children, to understand our identity, our place in the world or even perceive our future. If you're young and going through that at the moment, you have my deepest sympathy and empathy, but it isn't hopeless, I promise you, as this book makes clear.