Zeshan Shakar

They Call me the Wolf

De kaller meg ulven

Aren’t they supposed to have more, I remember thinking. They were from here after all, Norwegian-Norwegians – shouldn’t they own stuff? All the stuff I saw other people’s parents and grandparents owning. Shouldn’t they have the same stuff? Not even a cabin? At least one without any electricity or water in a place where no one else wants a cabin, like in the middle of the woods. They didn’t even have that. I asked my mother about it. She looked annoyed. All she said was, ‘That’s just how it turned out.’

A man is visiting his father, who is moving to Pakistan. His father doesn’t want to grow old in Norway and his small apartment needs to be emptied.

The chore awakens memories from the man’s own childhood and youth, thoughts about his relationship with his own children, and reflections on his parents’ story – a story that began long before he was born. What are they really leaving behind?

They Call Me The Wolf is a wise and moving examination of culture, history, family, identity and masculinity. It’s a novel about being a man from two countries, about having a mother from Finnmark and a father from Pakistan. It’s about being a parent, about the housing market, and about childhood. And it’s about survival and being hungry like a wolf.

Shakar dekallermegulven gyldendal

‘Outstanding storyteller!’

Guri Hjeltnes, VG

‘They Call Me the Wolf will remain a work of reference in Nordic literature for many years to come.’

Esthi Kunz, Gutkind

‘The touch and gaze in They Call Me the Wolf assure the reader that this authorship has much more to offer in the future.’

Bernhard Ellefsen, Morgenbladet
Shakar zeshan erika hebbert
Photo: Erika Hebbert

Zeshan Shakar (b. 1982) grew up in Oslo. He holds a degree in political science and also studied economics at BI Norwegian Business School. Shakar has worked in various government ministries and directorates and currently works at Oslo City Hall. For his first novel, Tante Ulrikkes Street (2017), he was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas Debutant Prize. The book sold over 150,000 copies. His second novel, Yellow Book, was released in 2020.

Shakar received the Oslo City Artist Prize and the Neshorn (Rhinoceros) Prize. In 2022, he was nominated for LO’s Literature Prize for Workers’ Literature. For They Call Me the Wolf (2022) he was awarded The Bookseller’s Prize