The Hunter’s Walk by Nabeel Ismeer is a coming of age story but a prehistoric one about a fictional tribe named Zardan. It’s a story of two boys—Ghar, a dark skin boy and Dun, his fair skin brother. Focusing on colourism and climate change, the story evolved around the adventurous journey of the caveboys in pursuit of completing the Zarda rite of passage which is the Hunter’s Walk. Thanks a lot to Nabeel and Penguin Books (South East Asia) for sending me an e-copy. Following is my honest review.
Fair skinned people are discriminated against by the dark skinned people in the tribe. They are treated poorly by the leaders under so-called ‘ways of the Fathers’ which came from the ancient paintings in the cave and ‘demands of the Fathers’ which the leaders received in their dreams. Dun and Ghar find out that some cave paintings are covered up and some are newly added. They begin to suspicious of the leaders and the Fathers’ ways.
Hunting becomes difficult and when the food rations for the tribe is getting small, the leaders and the dark skinned people forcibly evict some of the fair skinned people from Zarda territory. As Ghar tries to stand up for Dun from expelling, he is also outcasted from the tribe despite being a dark skinned. While he tries to survive outside his tribe, Ghar finds another tribe and his adventures begin swiftly.
Colourism and climate change are the main theme of the novels and challenges human beings will face when pitted against each other are told brilliantly. The writer’s strong storytelling reinforces the portrayal of discriminating people with different skin colour and treating women unjustly. Moreover, how power monger people will cover up the history with their fake narrative in order to achieve their selfish betterment are clearly presented. I love how unity between tribes is the answer for the survival of the human race.
I think the first chapter, especially the opening part could better wit clearer narrative. With the names of multiple characters mixed with tribal names, it was like a tidal wave hitting me as I attempt to tread water. A small paragraph or two of tribal history first and then introducing the characters would be better, I suppose. Apart from that, it was an enjoyable read about the journey of memorable and loving characters.