A NovelA young Native American woman remembers her volatile childhood as she searches for her lost brother in the Canadian wilds in an extraordinary, critically acclaimed debut novel
As she races along Canada’s Douglas Channel in her speedboat—heading toward the place where her younger brother Jimmy, presumed drowned, was last seen—twenty-year-old Lisamarie Hill recalls her younger days. A volatile and precocious Native girl growing up in Kitamaat, the Haisla Indian reservation located five hundred miles north of Vancouver, Lisa came of age standing with her feet firmly planted in two different worlds: the spiritual realm of the Haisla and the sobering “real” world with its dangerous temptations of violence, drugs, and despair. From her beloved grandmother, Ma-ma-oo, she learned of tradition and magic; from her adored, Elvis-loving uncle Mick, a Native rights activist on a perilous course, she learned to see clearly, to speak her mind, and never to bow down. But the tragedies that have scarred her life and ultimately led her to these frigid waters cannot destroy her indomitable spirit, even though the ghosts that speak to her in the night warn her that the worst may be yet to come.
Easily one of the most admired debut novels to appear in many a decade, Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach was immediately greeted with universal acclaim—called “gripping” by the San Diego Union-Tribune, “wonderful” by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and “glorious” by the Globe and Mail, earning nominations for numerous literary awards before receiving the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Evocative, moving, haunting, and devastatingly funny, it is an extraordinary read from a brilliant literary voice that must be heard.
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“Tough, tender and fierce.” —Sherman Alexie
“A startlingly accomplished first novel, artfully constructed, in places very funny, in others deeply haunting . . . It is, in the best sense, a thriller, a spiritual mystery. . . . Breathtaking.” —The Washington Post
“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 feat with genuine insight, wry humor and transcendent lyricism.” —Chicago Tribune
“Although death hangs like a Pacific mist over these pages, Robinson, herself a Haisla, fills this edifying book with the stuff of the living, from the tiniest details of Haisla life to the mightiest universals of tradition, desire and family love.” —Los Angeles Times
“Remarkable . . . Monkey Beach is both unusual and memorable. . . . The book is a work of a deft talent, all the more remarkable that it is a first work.” —The Denver Post
About the author
Eden Robinson is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations, and has become one of Canada's first female Native writers to gain international attention. Her 2000 novel, Monkey Beach, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award; it was the first English-language novel to be published by a Haisla writer. Traplines, her first book, was a collection of short stories published in 1995; it was a New York Times Editor's Choice as well as a New York Times Notable Book. Her third work of fiction, Blood Sports, was released in 2006. Robinson lives in British Columbia.
Photo Credit: Arthur Renwick