Cicada works in an office, dutifully toiling away day after day, year after year for unappreciative bosses and bullied by his co-workers. One day, something truly extraordinary happens.

Shaun Tan’s consideration of a working life is thoughtful and profound.  What do we dream of in our working day? Does slow and steady really win the race? Thereafter, what are our aspirations and dreams? Are they possible? Is it worth it? Furthermore, by having a limited text, this esteemed storybook maker suggests the role of the immigrant labourer (something about which he knows). The little boxes of the story, the way it is sequenced, the colours, all build an impression of repetition, drudgery and alienation. What do we value in our humanity? Do we all wish and need recognition and an opportunity?

Cicada is an outstanding book designed to be lingered over, returned to, discussed and realised. Bookwagon is proud to present this title.

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Shaun Tan

(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.



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