The Glass Collector

Perera, Anna

The new novel from the author of Guantanamo Boy.

In Cairo, fifteen-year-old Aaron makes a living out of gathering garbage – as a member of the despised Zabbaleen, this is his fate. But Aaron has dreams. Every day he dreams of Rachel, who looks after the ponies who pull the carts piled high with garbage to and from the slum they call home. He dreams that they will make a life together, far from the smells, cruelty and squalor of their daily existence. Aaron’s skill at sorting glass is the only thing that keeps him alive. His mother is dead, and his stepfather and stepbrother Elijah subject him to an endless regime of bullying and abuse. He is stuck with them – where else would he go? Shareen, the local beauty, is at once a source of excitement and torment to him. And always there is Rachel – serene, and seemingly untouchable. When Aaron steals some goods from a shop, bringing shame to his family, he is forced to work for the medical wasters – the lowest of the low, who risk their lives sorting through the piles of rubbish from the hospitals.Just as it seems he can sink no further, Aaron makes a choice that will change his life. And when Rachel looks at him in a new light, there may be hope for him, after all.

‘…has all the elements of a great story’, writes the Sun Herald. Reviewed in the Saturday Age.