‘No other country’ by Shaun Tan

A migrant family’s Christmas tree melts in the attic of their new suburban home. An accident while salvaging it leads to the discovery of an impossible outdoor room, which they come to call the inner courtyard.

They visited at least twice a week for picnics, bringing everything they needed through the attic and down a permanently installed ladder. They felt no need to question the logic of it, and simply accepted its presence gratefully.

Tan’s beautifully illustrated story carries the suggestion that every house might have an inner courtyard if you can just manage to find it.

Published in Tales from Outer Suburbia, Templar 2009