Here are our summaries of the dark fantasy stories by Shaun Tan, taken from the book 'Tales from Outer Suburbia'. We have created summaries of Stick Figures, Wake and Nameless Holiday. We hope they give you a snippet and make you want to read more of Shaun Tan's strange stories!
This story is about mystery Stick Figures from another world, who have come to earth to invade us. But not in a way that they want to kill us; they just want people to leave earth. They have been here for as long as anyone could remember. Different people treat them in different ways. Older kids beat them to death with their own limbs, adults choose to ignore them and children dress them up, but no-one knows why they are here. What do they want? Do they mean harm?
Yas and Khiana
This story is about Stick Figures. If they are standing in the middle of the road they will go round you. Loud music, smoke and barbecues will keep them away. Older boys take great delight in beating them. What are they? Why are they here? What do they want?
Gabby and Ava
Stick Figures...you could drive around them like dead rabbits, because adults pay no attention. Younger children dress them in old clothes and strange hats. A few older boys think it's very cool to beat them with baseball bats and snap off their limbs. But eventually they get bored of this. There are so many questions like; are they here for a reason? If you stop and stare for a long time, you can imagine that they too, might be searching for answers.
Missy, Caitlyn and Ed
A man saved his stuff from a fire, and suddenly lots of dogs came to him. They sat on the chairs inside and they wouldn't let him come near the house. The house fell and then the man was enraged.
Rohan and Oliver C
A fire happened at a house of a man who killed his dog. He managed to get all his belongings out of his house. A hundred dogs then came into the fire and sat on his belongings, and wouldn't leave. The man stormed away in search of a weapon. Then the dogs ran away onto the streets. The dogs only thought of warm kennels, safe laundry baskets and the beds of sleeping humans, the ones who gave them peculiar names.
A man on a cold night last winter, whose house set on fire, beat his dog to death. He was a strong man who carried all his stuff with his own hands out of the burning building.
Daisy and Liam
A mans house burned down last winter just days after he had beaten his dog to death. Being a strong man, he was able to get most of his things out of the house. As soon as he had done that, a hundred dogs of all shapes and sizes came running from every direction. The dogs snapped at him. The house burned to the ground in just a few minutes. The man went ot get a weapon, he came back with a crow bar, and just stood there in the black ash. The dogs howled, not for very long and not very loudly. Then they were gone, scattering into the streets and alleys.
The family goes on a nameless holiday between late August and early October. They decorate a TV aerial and puts their most loved thing underneath for the reindeer. They have a traditional midnight picnic in the garden so that they can see the TV aerial on the roof. The people that stay awake get to see the reindeer take the most precious object. After, they sometimes regret putting them out for the reindeer.
Aimee and Lottie
More coming soon...