Living with the Hawk

By (author): Robert Currie

Living with the Hawk explores the traumatic events in the life of Blair Russell, a high school football player who struggles to do what? right in tough circumstances. Key characters are his brother, Blake, the team? quarterback; Jordan Phelps, the star receiver, a kid with a need to control others; Paul Russell, his father, an Anglican priest; and Barb Russell, his mother. Blair is the subject of taunting and hazing, including physical intimidation on the football field by Jordan. His brother Blake used to stick up for him, but seems ambivalent about helping him now, a concern that Blair both resents and yet understands. At a football party where beer flows freely, Blair spots Jordan and a group of his laughing, drunken buddies, including his brother; he is shocked when he sees that they are urinating on a girl who has passed out. From that moment conflict grows between the brothers. In the backdrop to the event Blair begins to suspect that his brother is not who he thought he was. Like the sparrow hawk that survives on the kills it makes at the birdfeeder outside their home, in Blair’s mind, Blake has become a wicked predator of the helpless.

The next time Blair sees the abused girl from the party, Jordan Phelps is relentlessly harassing her in the school corridor. The trapped girl, Amber, is helpless and must suffer the humiliation of Jordon? taunts. Suddenly a native girl intervenes, calls Jordan asshole, and knees him in the groin. Buoyed by her actions Blair can no longer stay neutral and confronts Jordon himself. For his efforts, Jordan slams him into a locker, but a teacher breaks up the fight before it can continue. At home Blair learns the native girl is Anna Big Sky, and she? in his brother? class; he begins to suspect that his brother Blake likes her and suddenly he feels jealous. Not long after his newly developed interest in Anna, Blair begins hearing racist slurs in the locker room they are directed at her and generated by Jordon Phelps and his buddies, Vaughn Foster, and Todd Branton. Frustrated by his inability to confront them, Blair? anger causes him to argue with his brother about Anna. They both lose their tempers and then fight at football practice.
Some days later Blair hears talk of a body found in a field north of town and when he learns it? that of Anna Big Sky; he is devastated. Certain that his brother played a part in her violent death, Blair wonders what to do. He finally phones Crime Stoppers, naming those involved in Anna? death, including that of his brother, an action that divides the Russell family and leads to a tragedy that changes their lives forever.


Robert Currie

Robert Currie is a poet and fiction writer who is a founding board member of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words and a former chairman of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Currie was honoured in the fall of 2009 when he received the Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Currie has taught creative writing for four summers at the Saskatchewan School of the Arts in Fort San and for three summers at the Sage Hill Writing Experience in Lumsden. He is the author of ten books, including the short story collections, Night Games and Things You Don’t Forget, and the novel, Teaching Mr. Cutler. He lives in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where he taught for thirty years at Central Collegiate, winning the Joseph Duffy Memorial Award for excellence in teaching language arts.


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Excerpts & Samples ×
When I was in grade nine, two friends and I tried out for the high school football team. If I had known how my life would change because of that, and not just my life, but the lives of my brother and our parents, I would never have touched a football, but of course there was no way of knowing. The first day at practice all the players spread out across the field and slowly walked through the scrubby grass from one end zone to the other, our eyes on the ground before our feet. Every time we spotted a rock, we picked it up and heaved it off the field. After that there were calisthenics and drills, then blocking and tackling. When I was the only grade nine who made the team, I was ecstatic. I liked to think my success was because I was faster than any other kid when we drilled at running backwards, a perfect skill for a defensive back, but there might have been more to it than that. What I always remember was Todd Branton, one of the hotshot grade twelves, saying, ?ookie, you are such a lucksack. You made the team because your brother? the quarterback. And that? the only reason.?His voice low and sarcastic in the murmur of the locker room, exhausted players on the bench beside him raising their heads to stare at me, wondering what I? do. And oh no, I couldn? keep my mouth shut. ?ure, Branton, and you made the team because every time the coaches want to take a dump they know you?e there to wipe their butt.?The other players still stared at me, a few of them grinning, though you could see they didn? want to. ?p yours, dirtbag,?said Branton. ?ou smile and I?l rub it off with my jockstrap,?but he was too tired to act. Or so I thought. There? something about this Branton ?I don? know exactly, but if a fart had a face it? look just like him. The next day, getting ready for practice, I had stripped down to my jockey shorts when they came for me, a bunch of them grabbing me at once, lifting me off the bench, pinning me into a metal chair, my brother standing by, grinning ?nervously, I thought. He didn? make a move to help me. The screech of duct tape unrolling, and they were tying me to the chair, binding my legs to the chairlegs, wrapping tape around and around my arms, securing me to the metal frame. Behind me I heard my brother say, ?his must be a new one. Makes one hundred and ninety-two uses for duct tape.?

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184 Pages
8.48in * 5.50in * .60in


March 15, 2013


Thistledown Press



Book Subjects:

JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Bullying

Featured In:

YA Fiction



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