The high quality craftsmanship and convincing empathy of this novel wring hope and joy out of the abjectly miserable lives of the slum dwellers (the Zabbaleen) of the garbage tips of Cairo.
Aaron is the 15-year-old glass collector of the title. His mornings are spent collecting rubbish. Then begins the task of sorting it in readiness for the crooked dealers to buy. Aaron lives in a close, desperate, Coptic Christian community, reviled by the city dwellers, yet essential if Cairo isn’t to sink beneath the mounds of trash that it casually discards. The heart-wrenching course of his life and his relationships with his community is charted with great sensitivity and pathos.
This novel comes highly recommended for thoughtful older readers. It might even be life-changing for some. I would expect it on awards shortlists in the future.