Canada Reads

Canada Reads spotlight: Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Son of a Trickster is a novel about Jared, a compassionate 16-year-old, maker of famous weed cookies. It will be defended by actor Kaniehtiio Horn on Canada Reads 2020.
Kaniehtiio Horn is defending Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson on Canada Reads 2020. (CBC)

Given the ongoing developments with COVID-19 and the related travel concerns, Canada Reads was postponed.

To replace the broadcast of the debates in March, CBC Books created Canada Reads spotlight programming, a series of five one-hour programs dedicated to this year's books, authors and panellists.

Canada Reads 2020 will now take place July 20-23.

In place of the show back in March, CBC Books presented a series of one-hour programs on CBC Radio dedicated to this year's books and authors. 

This episode is about Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson.

Son of a Trickster is a novel about Jared, a compassionate 16-year-old, maker of famous weed cookies, the caretaker of his elderly neighbours, the son of an unreliable father and unhinged, though loving in her way, mother. As Jared ably cares for those around him, in between getting black-out drunk, he shrugs off the magical and strange happenings that follow him around. 

Son of a Trickster was on the shortlist for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is being adapted into a TV series set to premiere on CBC in 2020

Kaniehtiio Horn will be defending Son of a Trickster on Canada Reads 2020.

CBC Books is airing special one-hour programs dedicated to each book. This episode looks at the novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, which will be defended by actor Kaniehtiio Horn. 53:59

Why Eden Robinson wrote Son of a Trickster

"If you are invited to a potlatch, then you are there as a witness, and the redistribution is payment for your role as a witness. You're publicly acknowledging the event, and if you are asked about it, you are expected to recount truthfully and honestly what happened at that event. It's a way of keeping public accountability.

I think of a novel as something in amber, whereas the oral stories are still alive and flying around.- Eden Robinson

"The stories that I grew up with are fluid. They're living, breathing things that need tending, whereas a novel is its own little encased world. I think of a novel as something in amber, whereas the oral stories are still alive and flying around."

Eden talks about her novel "Son of a Trickster." 16:49

Eden Robinson on writing a contemporary Trickster tale

"I felt a lot of pressure to get it right. Anytime I was touching on cultural material, I felt a deep need to hit the notes properly. So I brought cousins into the consultation pretty early, they were reading rough drafts. And I'm very lucky that my family is blunt, so if there is something that I was getting wrong or interpreting weirdly, they would just tell me. I was very grateful for their feedback.

"Son of a Trickster is speaking to an experience in Canada that is more rural. It's the inclusion of people who are just scraping by in what everyone else seems to think of as the boonies. That was really important to me and I hope that the complexity of the characters is coming through."

Haisla and Heilsuk author Eden Robinson talks about writing her second novel in a trilogy, Trickster Drift, and what she had to overcome to get here. 32:51

Why Kaniehtiio Horn chose Son of a Trickster for Canada Reads

"There aren't that many stories out there about Indigenous people. So when there are you, as an Indigenous person, you gravitate toward them.

"I read Son of a Trickster about a year ago. I remember in the first few pages I was like, 'Holy. Just dirty, mean language.' But I was like, 'I'm going to keep going.' Jared the protagonist reminded me of my nieces and nephews. I feel like I knew the characters. I've grown up with the characters. I could see myself in the characters and having this magical element really drew me to it. It was very attractive to me. 

I could see myself in the characters and having this magical element really drew me to it.- Kaniehtiio Horn

"I think it highlights the Indigenous experience in Canada, but without shoving the trauma and the hardships and the realities that we face as Indigenous people in Canada down your throat. It's got magic in it and I think it's accessible to all Canadians."

Actress Kaniehtiio Horn explains why she's defending Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson in this year's battle of the books. 8:44

Kaniehtiio Horn and Eden Robinson chat about Son of a Trickster

Kaniehtiio Horn (KH)What to you is at the heart of Son of a Trickster?

Eden Robinson (ER)To me, at the heart of Son of a Trickster is Jared and the extreme care that he has for all the other characters. Even though they're complicated and sometimes dangerous, he still wants them in his life and he still cares.

KH: How were you first introduced to the trickster character Wee'git?

ERIn the crib, with the bottle. They told us trickster stories as kids, daily. When I first started to remember the stories, after dinner everyone used to gather at the kitchen table and we would be having dessert — along with smoking and drinking a lot of coffee. I have so many wonderful storytellers in my family.

KH: Same.

ERThey would all be trying to one up each other. When they started on the Wee'git stories, they would get faster and crazier and funnier. The goal was to make people laugh until they peed.

KH: That's good. Must've been loud.

ER: I have the quiet laugh in my family.

Kaniehtiio Horn & Eden Robinson discuss Son of a Trickster

CBC Books

1 year ago
Letterkenny actress Kaniehtiio Horn will defend Eden Robinson's novel Son of a Trickster on Canada Reads 2020. Ahead of the debates, the actor and author chatted about what really lies at the heart of the award-winning supernatural novel. 5:18


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