You won’t forget Malak…
Theo, a dispirited workplace humanitarian, audits a child worker at a cardboard factory, in a port city somewhere in Asia. He is impressed by young Malak’s maturity and grit. When that boy, the same age as Theo’s own son, disappears, he cannot let it rest. His quest for answers only raises more questions about the traps of structured help and acquired privilege.
An unsettling story quietly told by multiple awards-winning author Michèle Laframboise.
If you appreciate Jean-Christophe Rufin’s humanitarian stories, you will like Theo, a bumbling cooperant coming to terms with the real impact of his engagement.
Read Cardboard Boy to experiment our humanity’s harsh and ironic contrasts.
Theo’s right foot went through the floor.
A combination of heavy equipment, tropical weather and poor building regulations had worn the wood to a cardboard quality. The ball of his foot struck a supporting beam running under the floor, sending a sharp tingle reverberating all the way to his head.
Theo swore under his breath. At least he didn’t dive through the floor like in the animated cartoons that had filled so many of his Saturday mornings.
A urine and sweat stench permeated the whole building. Despite the heat, there wasn’t a single window open in the plant. His soaked shirt clung to his armpits.
Theo retrieved his sandaled foot, noting the new scratch on his skin. He should have put on his good shoes. He wondered briefly which one of the zillion germs crawling over the place had entered his bloodstream.
A high-pitched yap, a laugh, briefly eclipsed the ambient rumble.READ MORE
Theo turned to look at the line of boys attending noisy machines. He couldn’t guess which one had laughed. The boys, all aged from under ten to almost eighteen, looked away from him.
Psychological suspense / family ties / child labour
That book is number one on the Echovisions Collection. It is a novella-lenght, suitable for English classes.
Length: 12 000 words plus the postface