‘Listen.’ His father coughed, then groaned. ‘Find your Uncle Javaid. Go to Rawalpindi…’
‘…money in my pocket…bus from Oghi…’
The breath in his father’s throat sounded like a snake’s hiss. Razaq had heard that sound before when his grandmother was dying.
‘Ji, Abu.’ Razaq kissed his father’s face. The sound in his father’s throat stopped.
When an earthquake destroys Razaq’s mountain village and kills his family, he is determined to fulfill his father’s dying wish and travel to the city to find his uncle. But Rawalpindi is a big city and Razaq doesn’t know how to find his uncle. When he is sold into slavery it seems he may never belong to a family again. While he makes friends with other children both on the street and in the homes of the wealthy men and women who control him, Razaq has little hope, apart from determination, and memories of his father.Then he is visited by a social worker, posing as a massage customer, and Razaq wonders if perhaps there is a way out.
Mountain Wolf is a powerfully confronting tale of childhood slavery and of social justice. Exploring a seedy world which readers will wish was not real, Hawke offers an insight into life for the poorest, least powerful members of society – orphaned displaced children. Whilst there is nothing uplifting about the scenario, the story manages to offer some hope, both for Razaq himself, but also for humanity in general, through the kindness of strangers and family.
Suitable for highschool aged readers.
Mountain Wolf, by Rosanne Hawke
Harper Collins, 2012
his book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.