Released as “On the Run” in the US
Ben Silver is home with his little sister one afternoon when the cops show up looking for his parents. After they leave, his mum and dad arrive and bundle them in the car, supposedly taking them on a spontaneous ‘holiday’. Ben finds it hard to believe the two things aren’t linked.
So begins a tale of tension, suspicion and fear. Why did they leave so fast, without clothes or food? Why do his parents take Ben and his sister, Olive, to a filthy cabin in the middle of nowhere?
What’s in the bag his father
tries to hide?
Two Wolves is a novel at the lower end of the YA bracket that tackles some difficult questions. Parents are supposed to look after you, but what if other things are more important to them? What if they neglect you, or worse? What if they betray you? What if you come from a family who do things that are wrong? Does that mean you’ll be just like them?
Tristan Bancks handles these and other questions with skill. While his other books have lighter subjects and tones, Two Wolves captures the confusion, loneliness and longing of Ben as he tries to make sense of what’s happening to him and his family.
The title is taken from a story in the pages of Ben’s grandfather’s almost-empty journal, which is printed as a brief preface before the first chapter. In this version of the old story, a man tells his grandson that inside all of us a battle rages between two wolves.
“One wolf is bad – pride, envy, jealousy, greed, guilt, self-pity.
The other wolf is good – kindness, hope, love, service, truth, humility.”
The conclusion to the novel isn’t a tidy, neat, Disney happily-ever-after, but it’s a satisfying resolution that stays true to the characters and story, while still allowing the reader to ask themselves, “What would I do?”
Highly recommended, for readers from late primary school up.
Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks (On the Run in US)
Random House Australia
Published: March 2014
Tristan Bancks website: http://www.tristanbancks.com