The Lost Dog has a special function in relation to the other novels: it allows people to examine more precisely some of the socio-political conditions under which community can, or precisely cannot, take place. From the start of The Lost Dog, Tom is characterised as someone who never really feels at ease, regardless of where and with whom he is. However, there is one location that epitomises Tom’s deepest insecurities: the suburban abode in which he spent his Melbournian youth and in which sickly Iris now lives in a rough-and-ready manner. When Tom’s thoughts wander off to the almirah, this piece of furniture at first seems to compare favourably with what he sees in his immediate environment. However, in the vicinity of ageing Iris, Tom’s pleasurable childhood memory is overlaid with negative connotations and comes to stand in for his complicated relation with his mother.