Age 12+ The Lastling is a novel about loneliness, power and trust - and a chilling story of greed. Paris, lonely and neglected by her parents, is delighted to be invited on a trek to the Himalayas with her revered uncle Franklin and his friends. Her sense of excitement quickly changes to unease, when she discovers all is not quite what it seems. Under a thick cloak of secrecy, the group is hunting rare or endangered animals in order to eat them as part of their strange ‘Ultimate Diners Club’. Suddenly, Paris is exposed to an adult world of bizarre craving for power and control, which she is not quite ready to face: ‘Now, eat,’ said Franklin, with a glance at her. ‘And make sure you enjoy every last morsel. Because there’ll never be another like it. Literally. Isn’t that … exquisite?’
Into the camp arrives a lost, teenage monk (Tahr), who befriends Paris, inadvertently exposes the truth in the local myth of the yeh-teh (yeti) and suddenly the hunt is on for the ultimate diners club prize. When the yeh-teh is captured and held, Paris soon has more to face than a repulsive meal. The yeh-teh is so close to being human, for perhaps the first time, Paris is forced to look outside her protected and privileged life to another world and what day-to-day existence really means. Paris must decide whom she trusts and how much she is willing to risk for her very survival.
The story explores issues of growing up, what it means to be human, being accepted, loyalty, trust and the limits of acceptable behaviour. The novel deals with all these in ways that are subtle enough to engage teenagers, and obvious enough to convey some clear messages. The Lastling draws in the adolescent reader because it deals with themes of becoming independent, resolving conflict and accepting differences (by finding out about other people and places). There are opportunities to include elements of a broad range of learning areas and to explore a range of themes as mentioned...
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