I truly enjoyed reading The Hunter’s Walk by Nabeel Ismeer. I’ve recently been reading other fiction regarding climate crises in the future, but the concept of these crises in the prehistoric past was very interesting. Continue reading down below for a more in-depth view of The Hunter’s Walk.
Generations of prolonged drought and hunger have allowed the harsher voices of the Zarda tribe to set edicts of discrimination against their fair skin members.
Ghar, a dark skin cave painter and Dun, his fair skin brother, push back on this discrimination to ensure that Dun and the fair skins can take part in the Hunter’s Walk, a Zardan rite of passage.
When a fair skin is caught defying the ban on hunting, the fair skins are expelled from the tribe. Ghar has trouble coming to terms with the expulsion, and eventually he himself is cast out. After a giant wolf attack leaves him close to death, he is saved by Mai, a healer from the Khamma tribe.
A new unseen kind of storm hits the Khamma. Ghar and Mai try to prepare their tribe for the new challenges the storm brings, but the same forces that mislead the Zarda now grow in the Khamma.
Can Ghar and Mai push back on tribalism and exclusion by being inclusive and willing to take on ‘foreign’ ideas? Will Ghar ever meet Dun and the fair skins again? Will they ever complete the Hunter’s Walk?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Hunter’s Walk is a story of a boy, Ghar, from the prehistoric Zarda tribe. After his brother and the Gubbas, the fair skin members of the tribe, are cast out, Ghar is soon to follow hoping to find his brother and the other Gubbas. This quickly becomes a coming-of-age survival story, where Ghar must navigate the environment, new strange tribes, and unknown changes in the climate.
Having this novel in a prehistoric setting, it is interesting to see how these tribes interact with forces, such as climate, medicine, nature, and blooming inter-tribal relations. Things, such as medical suturing, encounters with snow, and insulating furs, are seen and described through the eyes of a narrator who is experiencing these for the first time.
The Hunter’s Walk also brings in the discussion of discrimination of Ghar’s tribe against fair skin members. This discrimination brought about segregation of society in where they live, their duties in the tribe, and the people with whom they can interact. This segregation was to the point that Ghar, a dark skin born to a fair skin, was exchanged at birth with Dun, a fair skin born to a fair skin, and thus raised by a dark skin mother, while Dun was raised by a fair skin mother.
Ismeer creates a unique view of the world through the lens of prehistoric tribes. One thing I would have appreciated was a bit more explanation in the beginning. There were a lot of words, names, and concepts that were being thrown around. It is once Ghar leaves his tribe and is amongst the Khamma that I finally got a handle of the different people and concepts. Considering this is a YA book, that could definitely lead to some confusion for younger readers.