Monkey Beach

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2000 - Blind - 377 pages
From the winner of the Winifred Holtby Prize: a rich and haunting story of a family on the edge of heartbreak. Monkey Beach is a breathtaking novel - and the first ever published by a Haisla writer.

Jimmy Hill is a 17-year-old swimmer and Olympic hopeful with everything going for him: talent, charm, and devastating good looks. Much sought out by local boy-chasers, Jimmy dates a different girl virtually each week until he falls in love with Karaoke, the tough-as-nails village beauty. And then comes the horrifying phone call: Jimmy has vanished at sea.

Left behind is Lisamarie, Jimmy's wayward older sister who has carved out a delicate peace with her family at last, including the brother she too often casually wished would disappear. Through her we meet the unforgettable Hills: her loving parents, struggling to marry their Haisla heritage with Western ways; her uncle Mick, Native-rights activist and Elvis fan; her self-reliant grandmother Ma-ma-oo, guardian of tradition. But Lisamarie has other advisors less tangible or trustworthy: ghosts, Sasquatches, and animal spirits that weave their lessons through the book.

Monkey Beach is a spellbinding voyage - one that gives full scope to Robinson's renowned ability to make bedfellows of comedy and the dark underside of life. Informed as much by its lush, living wilderness as by its colourful characters, Monkey Beach is a startling coming-of-age story, and a multilayered tale of family grief and redemption.

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User Review  - munchie13 -

Absolutely fabulous book! I struggled a bit with appreciating the ending despite normally feeling good about things being left ambiguous. I guess I was more invested in the characters than I normally am (which speaks to the character development). Would read again in a heartbeat. Read full review

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User Review  - Lindsay_W -

Monkey Beach is a poignant read that sheds light on the lives of Indigenous people living in a remote part of the British Columbia coast. On one hand, the book shares fascinating insights into Haisla ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Eden Robinson is a thirty-one-year-old Haisla woman who grew up near Kitamaat, BC. Her previous collection of stories, Traplines, was awarded the Winifred Holtby Prize for the best first work of fiction in the Commonwealth, and was a New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book of the Year. She lives in North Vancouver.

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