His Illegal Self
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Seven-year-old Che Selkirk was raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother. The son of radical student activists at Harvard in the late sixties, Che has grown up with the hope that one day his parents will come back for him. So when a woman arrives at his front door and whisks him away to the jungles of Queensland, he is confronted with the most important questions of his life: Who is his real mother? Did he know his real father? And if all he suspects is true, what should he do? In this artful tale of a young boy's journey, His Illegal Self lifts your spirit in the most unexpected way.
Mrs. Selkirk, do not speak to me like that. I’m not your servant anymore. You were not to leave New York. You were to have him back here. Where are you? Tell me now. I am trying to dial the damn number I was given. That’s what I am trying to do. I have some drug addict pestering me and your grandson is by himself, all right. Here I am. Now you tell me what I am to do. This produced the most extraordinary outburst of crying which Dial was not prepared for. Again the man and Mrs. Selkirk argued.
went on and on without reason. Got it, Trevor said. And held a shining ant, two inches long, a stinking, angry, black, plastic-coated, dying Australian thing. Bull ant, he said. The boy stayed frozen, vomity, ashamed, his pain still pulsing, while Trevor walked down among the wide tall grass toward Buck, who was drinking something. Trevor found water too, enough to wash some mud from his own body. He shook himself like a dog. Then he grabbed the cat, held it locked inside his arm. Did you
sale. Ah yes, said Adam, well there you are. There you are. Indeed, he continued, careening down a steep rutted hill and splashing across a narrow ford. You don’t want to worry about a thing, he said. They were now on a softer road, almost sandy. The road was flat, winding between tall forest trees with shining bone-white trunks. Do you know the place? Dial asked. Can you drop us somewhere near. Near, said Adam, swinging the car violently to the right, fishtailing up a steep clay driveway.
up and twisted like a pipe cleaner on the windowsill. I’m into cats, he said, peering sideways at his lawyer, begging him to come and save his life. The lawyer’s name was Phil Warriner. He was tall with surfer’s shoulders. He had a big dumb paisley tie, long peaked collar, bushy sideburns, a droopy black mustache. I’m into cats as well, Phil Warriner said. Then give the money back, Dial said, almost high on relief. She didn’t want to live there anyway. Your client knew about the cat from the
were many sets of pale tire marks, not following any single course, but all proceeding in the same direction, ending in a bit of gray among the big trees, a sort of nothing that made his mouth go dry. He followed her toward this blur and only when they were very close did he see it was a heavy net which had been thrown like a spiderweb across a building. Then he could see a high wall punctuated by thick gray timbers, standing upright like trunks of trees, and the space between filled up with