Trickster Drift is the second book in Eden Robinson’s Trickster trilogy. (Laughing Red Works/Knopf Canada) Indigenous authors over the last three generations have been claming an increasing amount of space within the Canadian literary realm, where they are able to represent themselves, their cultures and their stories.
Award-winning Haisla and Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson ( Monkey Beach, Blood Sports, Son of a Trickster) has just released the second novel in her Trickster trilogy and is in Toronto for the Toronto International Festival of Authors.
The Trickster trilogy follows Jared, the son of a Trickster and also a Witch, while he tries to navigate adolescent challenges with a dash of magic, horror and comedy.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q. Who do you write for?
A. My cousins. For the Trickster series, I was picturing my younger cousin in my head when I was writing. What would interest them? What kind of stories would they like to hear and what would I like to leave? I really love trickster stories and I wanted the trickster that I grew up to live in my fictional world.
Q. Many cultures have a trickster figure. I’m Anishinaabe we have Nanabush, so what does the trickster ( wee’git ) mean to you?
A. The wee’git stories that I grew up with just remind me of family. I come from a family of storytellers and they’re all really good and I’m an OK storyteller. I love writing because you can edit to make yourself sound smarter or more put together. Because I’m not as strong with oral storytelling, I gravitated to writing as a way to sort of compensate for my lack of oral storytelling ability. I remember my dad loved telling wee’git stories because the trickster is a lot of fun.
Q. Where do you draw influence from when constructing your family dynamics?
A. A variety of sources. It’s also a personal bend of mine; I like dysfunctional family dramas. Most of the families that I write have kind of skewed dynamic like Jared and his mother. They have a more peer-to-peer relationship, but she still is his mother. She’s a third generation residential school survivor, so her all her coping mechanisms are geared toward a very hard world and she’s trying to impart that knowledge on Jared to save him from some of the grief that she went through. But they butt heads about the way they see things. I wasn’t expecting her to be a regular character in the books, but she kept coming back and I just loved their banter and those odd moments of tenderness because they really do want to be in each other’s lives. They just don’t know how to do it.
Q. Why do you bring spirits and different beings from your own culture into the present with your writing?
A. They’re alive in our traditional stories but a lot of the younger generation is watching Riverdale and Game of Thrones so they’re not seeing these characters in the modern time. I wanted to see what they would do if they were running around and do it in such a way that it would appeal to kids that hadn’t necessarily grown up with the same stories.
Q. The first novel in the trilogy is Son of a Trickster , so why Trickster Drift as a title for the second? What is the drift?
A. The drift part is the he’s sliding into a world that he was trying to avoid. He’s not going to willingly accept his inheritance. He’s the son of a trickster but he’s […]
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