Article Title

Tales from the Inner City


Emma Patton


The line between the natural world and the human world is thin. Author Shaun Tan explores the interactions between humans and animals through a series of short stories accompanied by ethereal artwork. In each of the stories, a different animal is featured in a new role, imagined as an active participant in city life, albeit in mysterious and abstract ways. In the world of Tales from the Inner City, humanity maintains physical proximity to animals, which engenders a primal understanding across species. In some of the stories, animals are still hunted beings, exploited for their resources. In others, animals are companions to humans, even if they don't fit the traditional idea of a household pet. In others, animals take on a symbolic role and seem to represent abstract ideas like mortality or time. But perhaps the most compelling stories are those that show that arbitrary roles in modern society could be filled by some of the same creatures that humanity sees as less evolved.