Son of a Trickster

Publisher: Knopf Canada
With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the Giller-shortlisted author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otter . . . The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.
     Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned.
     You think you know Jared, but you don't.


“[R]ich with humour and heartbreak.” —49th Shelf

“[T]he first novel in a trilogy that’s likely to be the most ambitious project of [Robinson's] career.” —The Globe and Mail

“Eden Robinson is more than funny, more than intelligent, more than a novelist—she’s an enchanter. Son of a Trickster creates a terrifically believable teenage character who lives both on the rez and in a witchy soup of blood, sex and magic. Harry Potter goes to reform school. Full of sparks, full of pain, full of joy.” —Alix Hawley, author of All True Not a Lie in It
“If Raven and Trickster got a show on Netflix, no one could write it but Eden Robinson. Talking ravens, party drugs, deadbeat dads, murderous otters, Doctor Who—nobody brings together pop culture, indigenous culture and myth with more ferocity and humour. Son of a Trickster is my favourite book this year.” —Annabel Lyon, author of The Sweet Girl and The Golden Mean
“Eden Robinson is a writer with a magical touch. Crisp prose, taut dialogue, and a cast of maniacal characters you sure as hell don’t want living next door.” —Thomas King, author of The Back of the Turtle and The Inconvenient Indian
“Eden Robinson is a masterful storyteller. Shimmering with deft prose, unforgettable characters, and haunting truths, Son of a Trickster reminds us that sometimes the surest way to solid ground is through believing in magic.” —Ami McKay, author of The Birth House, The Virgin Cure and The Witches of New York

Son of a Trickster is filled with darkness and squalor and obscenity. And yet, startlingly, it brings the reader to a place of wonder and mystery and magic. It is a story of a boy born into a violent history. It is a story of a boy born into a magnificent culture. Robinson bravely reconciles these oppositions in a story that is equal parts irreverent humour and astute wisdom.” —Heather O’Neill, author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Eden Robinson is a master storyteller with an instantly recognizable style and a capacious sensibility that encompasses everything from traditional Haisla teachings to contemporary youth culture. Her vision is unflinching, her obsessions sometimes brutal, her observations visceral, yet at the same time all of her work is suffused with a deep empathy for her characters, and spiced by a tricksterish sense of humour that opens up new ways of understanding this land and its beautiful, damaged people. In a world where the legacies of colonial violence are alive and present every day, Robinson’s work resonates with crucial political and ethical questions that everyone needs to consider. This is vital, engaged and artful writing that sticks in the memory and makes us think again about who, and where, we are.” —Jurors Warren Cariou, Annabel Lyon, Linda Spalding for the Findley-Engel Prize 


Monkey Beach creates a vivid contemporary landscape that draws the reader deep into a traditional world, a hidden universe of premonition, pain and power.” —Thomas King

Monkey Beach is a moody, powerful novel full of memorable characters. Reading it was like entering a pool of emerald water to discover a haunted world shivering with loss and love, regret and sorrow, where the spirit world is as a real as the human. I was sucked into it with the very first sentence and when I left, it was with such a feeling of immense reluctance.” —Anita Rau Badami

“We bear witness as she spreads her wings . . . not one note rings false. All the characters . . . are stubbornly real, mixtures of good and evil. This is Robinson at her best . . . this is a world worth every ounce of remembrance.” —Toronto Star

“[Robinson’s] command of language and ability to create three-dimensional, believable characters result in a hypnotic, heady sensory experience. . . . The beauty of the book is in the details—Robinson combines mortal and spiritual worlds, the past and the present, seamlessly fusing them into a cogent, non-linear narrative. . . . Riveting.” —NOW (four star review)

“Robinson’s specialty is presenting the day-to-day: No bells, no whistles, no filtered lenses—but a lot of close-ups. . . . The humour is pure, but the grit and blood is mixed with meditations on still waters, ancestral voices, ghostly footsteps and beating hearts. . . . [Monkey Beach is] an important work of understanding.” —Edmonton Journal
Monkey Beach is an important novel. It exposes the redemptive, vital lives of a once dying culture with Robinson’s insider compassion and trickster wit. . . .  Robinson has energy; she resists the slickster sophistication that dries out so much of today’s fiction; her humour is not urbane and nasty but shifty and wise.” —Quill & Quire
“A first novel that bristles with energy—and a spunky heroine. . . . A haunting coming-of-age story [whose] tragic elements are leavened with wonderful moments of humour. . . . The characters in [Monkey Beach] emerge brilliantly.” —Maclean’s
“Glorious Northern Gothic. . . . A compelling story . . . Robinson has an artist’s eye, and delicately evokes the astonishing natural beauty of the Kitamaat region . . . behind Lisa’s neutral voice is an authorial presence, weaving Haisla and Heiltsuk lore into the fabric of the novel gracefully, but with the quiet determination of an archivist cataloguing a disappearing way of life.” —The Globe and Mail

“Written with poise, intelligence and playfulness . . . . Intricately patterned . . . there is much to admire in this tale of grief and survival. . . . In Lisamarie Hill, Robinson has created a memorable character, a young woman who finds a way to survive even as everything around her decays.” —National Post

“Robinson rewards our faith that after all these years writers can still, as Pound said, ‘make it new.’ In this year’s lineup of lookalike literary prospects she could be the Willie Mays we’ve been hoping for.” —The Washington Post

“In one deft stroke, Robinson, a writer of machete-sharp wit and nimble subtlety, establishes the conflict between the old ways and the new that propel her evocative tale of inheritance and dispossession . . . supple and often mysterious variation on the classic coming-of-age motif. . . . Robinson’s tribute to the Pacific Northwest and Haisla culture, embodied in her stout-hearted heroine and all her other vital and complex characters, does what good literature does best: It moves meaningfully from the particular to the universal and back again. And Robinson performs this enlightening feat with genuine insight, wry humor and transcendent lyricism.” —The Chicago Tribune