Eden Robinson and Kaniehtiio Horn discuss Canada Reads 2020 contender Son of a Trickster
Kaniehtiio Horn will defend the novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson on Canada Reads 2020. Ahead of the debates, the actor got to pick her author's brain on what lies at the heart of her supernatural novel.
Son of a Trickster tells the story of a 16-year-old named Jared who is known in his community for making the best weed cookies and for having a scary mom. Jared takes care of his struggling family the best he can and shrugs off the fact that the ravens are talking to him.
Watch Horn and Robinson's conversation above or a read a condensed transcript of their talk below.
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?
ER: In 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.
ER: They 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.
KH: That's what I heard. What was it like to write your own stories inspired by the trickster?
ER: It was scary and freeing because I have a monkey brain that hops from subject to subject.
KH: Yeah, no kidding.
ER: So when I'm telling stories, I get sidetracked and I'll be explaining coronaviruses. That doesn't make for a good oral storyteller, a good traditional storyteller. In writing fiction, I can edit.
KH: Focus and streamline your thoughts.
ER: So I can pull out all the coronavirus stuff.
It was one of the most exhilarating writing experiences of my life.- Eden Robinson
KH: What did you personally take away from the experience of writing this novel?
ER: The experience of this novel was that as I've gotten older, I've become less concerned about what other people think. I've always had an insane sense of humour. In the first few books I wrote, I reined that right back. They're a little more serious. But Son of a Trickster, I learned to let that loose. And it's still not full throttle.
ER: But it was one of the most exhilarating writing experiences of my life. I looked forward to spending time with these characters. I'm really liking the 50s writing-wise.
KH: Just letting loose? Letting it go?
ER: Run free.
KH: What is the one thing I should make sure everyone knows about your book?
ER: The one thing that everyone should know about my book is that I would like people to enjoy the grey areas, the complexities and the interactions of the characters. I don't think having characters that are all likable all the time is interesting.
ER: I think that if you look around at the people around you, they're not always good. But they're always interesting.
KH: That's true. I like playing bad guys sometimes because you get to go into the mind and you get to see what motivates them because they're not just bad and that's it.
ER: Oh those are the best bad guys. You know what's driving them. It's something that they feel very deeply. Those are the best characters.
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