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Literature: The Lost Thing

Written and illustrated by Shaun Tan, The Lost Thing follows an unnamed narrator as he tells the reader, in flashback, about that time he found a lost thing, and tried to find it a home. It was adapted into a 15-minute animated short film in 2010, directed by Tan and Andrew Ruhemann. It won The Oscar and the Hugo for Best Animated Short.

This story contains examples of the following:

  • Bigger on the Inside: The narrator's shed looks tiny, but somehow he was able to fit the thing in it, and through the normally-sized doorway, no less.
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: More Pete's suburb than the narrator's - he has a backyard, at least.
  • Parental Obliviousness: The narrator had to point out that there's a hulking red thing in his parents' living room; in the illustration it's right behind their chairs.
    • Fridge Logic: How did it even fit through the clearly human-sized doorway?
  • Shout-Out: Not so much the text, but the pictures reference several paintings, such as Collins Street, 5pm, by John Brack.
  • Steampunk: The lost thing, and the other odd creatures, but also the town itself, whilst still managing somehow to be incredibly drab.
  • Weirdness Censor: Could be why his parents don't notice the lost thing at first, and theorised as a possible reason why the narrator doesn't see many lost things anymore.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The story is in past tense first person, and the narrator actually states that he's recounting a past event at the beginning of the story.

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alternative title(s): The Lost Thing
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