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Son of a Trickster

(Trickster #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  4,760 ratings  ·  781 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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Popular Answered Questions
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…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 3.80  · 
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Erin
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 ...more
Krista
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: can-con, indigenous, arc, 2017
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
...more
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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. Its 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 cant 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: hes also an incredibly compassionate person, to the point that others take ...more
Lata
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
...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
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 ...more
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. Im really glad I did. It has given more an extended visit to Jareds 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 Robinsons writing. My earlier review goes into more detail, and my experience this time around
...more
Wendy
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2020, mar-20
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
...more
jo
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 kafkas 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 than ...more
Carole
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.
lark benobi
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, canada
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
Michelle
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 wasnt living up to what the jacket made me think I was getting. Then the magical realism started and I was even more confused. It didnt use the Trickster myth in the way Ive 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, I ...more
Elinor
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!
David Yoon
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
...more
Jan
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.
Jalilah
5 stars for this enchanting Bildungsroman! I couldn't put it down and had to immediately reread it as soon as I finished! 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
...more
❀ Susan G
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
https://ayearofbooksblog.com/2017/04/...

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 cword 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 and
...more
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'!
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!
Kathleen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dynah Thirst
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This book was all over the place. Lots of inconsistencies in grammar that were confusing. Ex. Guy releases his two dogs, then the story said he followed his dog to see the action. I had to go back a couple of times to make sure he had two dogs to start with. Things like that drive me crazy - it completely takes me out of the story. Characters were described without using their names and then referred to by just their names, which was confusing. Characters appeared out of nowhere with no past ...more
Kristi
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Definite contender for Giller 2017 (yes, I know Giller 2016 hasn't even been announced yet). More thoughtful review to come.
Gail Amendt
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this in a day and a half, which says a lot. This book slowly grew on me, and soon I couldn't put it down. It was pretty disturbing at first. The protagonist, Jared, is a sixteen year old native boy in Kitimat, B.C. His family life is very dysfunctional. His parents, who are no longer together, both have substance abuse problems. He has spent his youth living with his angry, drug dealing mother and a series of boyfriends, some of whom have been abusive. Jared has turned to selling pot ...more
Daniella Armstrong
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Last year, I read only one magical realism novel and I lamented the fact that I hadnt found more. This year, Im starting with one in the hopes that it will bring more my way! Wishful thinking, maybe, but it certainly cant hurt.

First, much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this fantastic book pre-publication!

Son of a Trickster will be published on February 7th, and it certainly fits the bleak tone of the month. Jared, the main character, is a teen with a damn
...more
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
...more
Jennifer
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: canadian, 2017-books
2.5-stars, if we could.

there were parts of this story i really enjoyed, but there were other parts i found a bit clunky. robinson is an interesting storyteller, and she packs a lot into her books. but i find myself wondering if she tries to do too much? her characters and settings are very vivid, and the magical realism is interesting - though MR does tend to be something i struggle with as a reader, generally.
Rhonda
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The voice, the characters, the magic, the plot... it was all awesome. I can't wait to read the sequel.
Brooke
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book, but honestly, I just found it terribly depressing. The end started to improve, but at that point it was too little, too late for me. I won't be continuing with the series.

Son of a Trickster is one of the Canada Reads 2020 contenders.
CynthiaA
I will admit that I really struggled with this book at times. It is VERY bleak. The language is coarse, the behaviour is frequently lewd and violent. But then there is Jared. Our protagonist. He awoke the mother-bear in me. I wanted to reach into the pages and rescue his beautiful soul from all the drama and angst and deception and bullying and poverty. Eden Robinson has a strong narrative writing style that pulls you into her story. She uses sarcasm and wit liberally and that saves the ...more
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542 followers
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 (2 books)
  • Trickster Drift

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ...
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“Close your eyes. Concentrate on your breath. Remember that you were not always earthbound. Every living creature, every drop of water and every sombre mountain is the by-blow of some bloated, dying star. Deep down, we remember wriggling through the universe as beams of light.” 9 likes
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