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. The debate is over and the winner has been picked. Son of a Trickster came down to the final two and then was voted out. Out of the five finalists it was not the one book I thought would bring focus to Canada because of some elements to the story that might not appeal to everyone. However, it’s good storytelling that gives a voice to Indigenous Canadians and their stories.
Eden Robinson weaves a coming of age story, dark comedy, with magic realism and a whole lot of family drama. She captures the messy, complex family dynamics through the POV of high school Jared living in kitimat, BC. The magic realism adds a layer of culture and intrigue to the bleak story, but I got lost in it all and didn’t know what was part of the culture, real or storytelling.
Things were off to a great start for me, and I loved the snarky dialogue centered around Jared’s messy life. However, that humor turned bleak and got tiring real fast for this older reader. Eden Robinson does a good job capturing a realistic voice of a teenager sarcasm and with the dialogue between him and the other characters in the story. Like in real life, I became annoyed by it.
Jared is a likable character, he is compassionate and empathetic. He often plays the role of the adult and provides for and manages the adults in his life while struggling with his own conflicts. He drinks, uses drugs and his claim to fame is his pot cookies. A good part of the story digs into Jared’s daily life, and it felt repetitive at times and slowed down the story for me.
Overall I enjoyed it but it felt more like storytelling to me than showing me depth to the story and the characters.
My reviews for more finalist
We Have Always Been Here A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib