(Hodder) – hardback
Cicada is disconcerting, stimulating and thought-provoking. Every day our main character goes to work as a data clerk. Despite being reliable and conscientious, he is overlooked and under appreciated. Furthermore, the few words included in this sophisticated picture book, emphasise his relentless, dependable clocking in and off- ‘Tok Tok Tok’. A palette of dull greys and greens micro the tedium of our hero’s life. Who is he? Could he represent the immigrant class of Western existence, such as Shaun Tan knows and appreciates?
Therefore, what happens at the end of these seventeen years? Is there some sort of Hollywood revenge sequence, or glorious awareness of the stolid little worker? Might it be that the end of the road is a glorious discovery and release for our hero? We long for something extraordinary, after all. Don’t we? Isn’t that what we all deserve?
Cicada deserves to become one of Shaun Tan’s best loved titles.