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Son of a Trickster

(Trickster #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,618 ratings  ·  1,213 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Knopf Canada
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Emma During wordfest in Calgary, Eden Robinson confirmed this was the first in a trilogy. Someone from the audience asked. I was giddy and sad at the news …moreDuring wordfest in Calgary, Eden Robinson confirmed this was the first in a trilogy. Someone from the audience asked. I was giddy and sad at the news because the next books aren't coming out until 2019 and 2021 ish....could be sooner could be later. I would check with the publisher to confirm(less)
Meredith Her views on the treatment of indigenous people by who? Other Canadian citizens?
Without knowing what her views are, I can't really say if they are re…more
Her views on the treatment of indigenous people by who? Other Canadian citizens?
Without knowing what her views are, I can't really say if they are reflected in the book or not. However, I don't think the book delves into what I assume you are asking about. They may be mentioned briefly but just as a passing comment. They are not a theme of the novel. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  8,618 ratings  ·  1,213 reviews

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Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-borrowed
So, this Canadian YA novel that weaves First Nations culture was recommended by a fellow educator. It was purchased along with other books for my classroom library. It has been picked up time and time again by my students, but they have shared that they just haven't been able to get through it. So, I decided I needed to find out for myself. I suspect that part of what might be uncomfortable for them is that the story for some may hit too close to home. Jared, our teenage protagonist is more resp ...more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
TW: drug and alcohol abuse; child abuse and neglect; suicide attempt; self harm

This was not at all what I was expecting from the synopsis. This reads more like a contemporary YA novel about a teen with a rough home life and family dynamics that copes with drugs and alcohol. The magical elements only came into play 80% of the way into this first book, with 2-3 short instances before that where our main character assumes he’s just too drunk or high. I was mostly bored by this, as I didn’t care muc
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indigenous, arc, 2017, can-con
The world is hard. You have to be harder.

Author Eden Robinson calls Son of a Trickster “a cognitive screwball gothic with working class people”, and that's too precisely perfect a description for me not to just quote her. As the coming-of-age story of a sixteen-year-old Native kid, Jared Martin, this book explores all the familiar anxieties faced by high school kids everywhere (social acceptance, family expectations, drug and sexual experimentation), layers on the less familiar anxieties par
Son of a Trickster just came out after too many years without any new fiction from Eden Robinson. This novel is SO worth the wait. It’s about Jared, a sixteen-year-old burnout who drinks too much and smokes too much pot and lives on the rez with his mom, who he can’t trust to not bail on him and the bills or to not beat up guys who admittedly deserve it. But Jared is not a stereotype and not what an outsider would think: he’s also an incredibly compassionate person, to the point that others take ...more
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Son of a Trickster is a 2020 Canada reads finalist that battled in Canada’s battle of the books for "The one book to bring focus to Canada." It is the third book I have read of the five finalists chosen this year. It came in second and well, I didn't think it is the one book to bring focus to Canada from the five finalists because it's not one I feel will appeal to a larger amount of readers with the magic realism and teenage POV. However, it gives a voice to Indigenous Canadians and their stori ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 to 4ish stars.
I've never read anything by Eden Robinson before, so this was a pleasant surprise. Jared, the main character, lives with his mother. His parents have split up, and his father, a recovering drug addict, has a new family. Jared's mother is scary, and has hurt various boyfriends for threatening or hurting Jared. Jared's mother also has anger issues.
Jared is sixteen years old and a good guy. Jared is struggling in school, and spends much of his time drinking or doing drugs, making
Matthew Quann
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: oh-canada, fantasy
Guys, there's no review I hate writing more than that of a book that's disappointed me. I had been really looking forward to getting down with Canadian-fantasy novel Son of a Trickster, which promised an indigenous cast, some teenage antics, and the sort of magical goings-on that usually tickle my fancy. To boot, I was also pumped to read something by Eden Robinson who has been written about in glowing terms by a few Canadian publications. Unfortunately, Son of a Trickster is an extremely unbala ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
To call this novel a coming of age story is a bit of a misdirection. It has elements of that but there is a lot more going on. I'm still a bit confused by this novel, honestly. Jared is a first nations kid in Canada who sometimes lives on the reservation. He has very little parenting, his grandmother claims he is not completely human and has some trickster in him, and he starts experiencing a realm of the supernatural. But then again, he's also someone who sells pot cookies and drinks more than ...more
My full review and some discussion of similar titles.

4.5 stars

Why you may not like this book: There are several "make or break" elements present in Son of a Trickster. It is character driven and doesn't have a very strong driving plot. It's a look at main character Jared's life across a year, as things in his life follow a very similar pattern, while also breaking down further across time.

Because it is plot-light and because it has flashes from the past, instances where we are experience we
Kara Babcock
Second review: March 8, 2019

I picked up Trickster Drift when it came out, but I knew I wanted to re-read Son of a Trickster to refresh my memory before I started the sequel. I’m really glad I did. It has given more an extended visit to Jared’s world, and what an interesting world this is.

I really love this book, and re-reading it has only increased my appreciation for its depth and the skill of Robinson’s writing. My earlier review goes into more detail, and my experience this time around pr
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
[useless noodling; skip this paragraph if you want to get to the review!] there is a chinese wall between american readers and canadian literature. the only titan strong enough to have made a breach (but, see, it's her breach, no one but she can cross over, just like in kafka’s parable!) is Margaret Atwood. even nobel prize winner Alice Munro is not a household name among american readers. Miriam Toews -- i haven't dug into numbers, but this is what it seems to me -- is more popular in italy tha ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mar-20, 5000-2020
Son Of A Trickster by Eden Robinson is one of the finalists in Canada Reads 2020.
This novel gives a somber and realistic look at many aboriginal youth's enviroments in Canada and strong indicators of why many of these youth are substance dependent and have high suicide rates.
I really liked Jared, the main character. He is a self-sufficient aboriginal teen with a huge heart and numerous hardships.
The author gives us a strong cast of memorable supporting characters as well.
Confusing at times, yet
lark benobi
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada, knopf, 2017
This novel rings brilliant changes on topics such as vomit--"The stew-like puddle stank beside the mattress"--and it does a wonderful job of representing characters whose main way of spending their lives is to grow stupefied together on booze or drugs or occasionally sex. All the characters speak in a witty-gritty way that I admire, but it almost felt as if Robinson is so good at all of the above--especially good at drunken dialog, for instance, or of writing characters who make stupid choices, ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read, Jared is a very believable character with whom you can easily empathize. I would have given this five stars but I struggled with the supernatural aspect.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
For the first 2/3rds of this book I was wondering what exactly I was reading - I mean, I really liked the characters and story but it wasn’t living up to what the jacket made me think I was getting. Then the magical realism started and I was even more confused. It didn’t use the Trickster myth in the way I’ve seen it used in other Indigenous writing so that left me scratching my head. All that said, this was a very memorable and absorbing book. I loved how deep and real all the characters were, ...more
NAT.orious reads ☾
Jun 04, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: cover-porn
We all know it's an absolutely spectacular idea to choose a book according it's cover. Always. Totally. You definitely NEVER regret that. Ever. ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it
It's a too long YA origin story that hopefully sets up a better sequel. I guess I was just frustrated waiting. I get it - Jared's a little messed up, but golden hearted and maybe a little in love. His family has secrets and there's trouble afoot. I didn't need an entire book to tell me that.

There's undoubtably something simmering under the surface, threatening to break Jared Martin out of his high school reverie of baking pot cookies, getting drunk, stoned and screwed. Something more than the d
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This kind of morphed from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to Twilight on acid. And yet, I liked it. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

5 stars for this enchanting Bildungsroman! I couldn't put it down!
Son of a Trickster is both realistic and gritty, beautiful and magical, terrifying and funny, endearing and tragic all at the same time!
16 year old Jared, aka "Cookie Dude" amongst his peers, has a snarky mouth that often gets him into trouble. His maternal grandmother hates him, believing he is not human, rather a "Wee'git", a raven trickster from Pacific Northwest First Nation's mythology.
He also has a heart of gold. Jared gi
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was so unusual I'm not sure I can do it justice. It is wonderfully clever and creative and inventive. The dialogue is sharp and wickedly funny. Yet the story about an indigenous 16-year-old boy named Jared struggling with his dysfunctional family in a small British Columbia town is also very depressing. His mother is so violent that he literally fears she might kill someone. Drugs and alcohol are so endemic to the indigenous characters that they are basically part of the culture. When ...more
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
I'm generally not a fan of magical realism, but Eden Robinson makes it work here in the best kind of way. This was my first read from the 2017 Giller Prize short-list and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really liked the protagonist, Jared, and his development throughout. I also noticed threads of similarity between this novel and The Goldfinch, another book I really liked - that also happened to win a Pulitzer! ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reminds me of The Animators in the way it starts out as one thing and then takes an unexpected turn and becomes something completely different. Not an all-time favorite book or anything, but still an easy five stars for the character of Jared plus humor plus First Peoples mythology. ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language and setting is pretty rough for me, but I will be thinking about this book for a while. The ending was unexpected, and thought provoking for me.
This was really good. Robinson's story is engrossing and the use of daily life of Jared draws the reader in. There are sections that will make you laugh, and sections, one in particular where you will sob. ...more
❀ Susan G
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it

I have to admit that I almost did not buy a copy of Son of a Trickster! I am ok with swearing and graphic language but really struggle with that “c”word which is sprinkled throughout the first chapter. During the author event at Laurier University, I cringed hearing that word during the reading. The author shared that she herself does not swear much but her characters do! Lucky for me, I kept an open mind and got carried away with the infections laughter a
Jennifer (aka EM)
The word 'inventive' gets bandied about for a lot of books, not always deservedly, but dang: this book is all that and more. It's inventive, it's clever, it's genre-bending, it's fantastic.

If you want to read a review with tons of nuance and deep, smart things to say about it, check out jo's.

The one thing I will add is that, for me, this book is all about inter-generational trauma of the type to which Indigenous folk have been subjected since first contact. Trauma and its effects are both overt
3 Stars

*A great premise with too slow of a buildup and a lot of nihilism*

I came across Son of a Trickster on Bookstagram and then heard that it was being turned into a TV show. Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I love mythology and folklore, so a story incorporating First Nation culture and lore was a must read. I was excited to read a coming of age story about a boy trying to do the best he can in a difficult life and dealing with the possibility that he was the son of a mythological Trick
Susan's Reviews
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great writing and storytelling. Just so out there! I don't want to ruin this for you by dropping any spoilers, so I'm just going to say: this book is very well written, and some of the dialogue will have you laughing out loud, but there are a few tense scenes in this story. But the forces of evil are no match for a mother's love! That's all I'm sayin'! ...more
Emily Cait
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rough start. I almost gave up on this, but the ending blew me away. I had to jump straight into the sequel!
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Eden Victoria Lena Robinson (born 19 January 1968) is a Canadian novelist and short story writer.

Born in Kitamaat, British Columbia, she is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations. She was educated at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.

Other books in the series

Trickster (3 books)
  • Trickster Drift (Trickster, #2)
  • Return of the Trickster

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