From a writer whom the New York Times dubbed Canada’s “Generation X laureate” comes a quartet of haunting, unforgettable tales of young people stuck in the inescapable prison of family
A New York Times Notable Book and winner of Britain’s prestigious Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, Traplines is the book that introduced the world to Canadian author Eden Robinson. In three stories and a novella, Robinson explodes the idea of family as a nurturing safe haven through a progression of domestic horrors experienced by her young, often helpless protagonists. With her mesmerizing, dark skill, the author ushers us into these worlds of violence and abuse, where family loyalty sometimes means turning a blind eye to murder, and survival itself can be viewed as an act of betrayal.
In the title story, for a teenager named Will growing up on a Native reserve in northwestern Canada, guilt, race, and blind fidelity are the shackles chaining him to the everyday cruelty and abuse he is forced to endure. In “Dogs in Winter,” a girl recalls life with her serial-killer mother and fears for her own future. A young teen and the sadistic, psychopathic cousin who comes to live with him engage in a cat-and-mouse game that soon escalates out of control in “Contact Sports,” while in the final story, “Queen of the North,” a young Native girl deals in her own way with sexual molestation at the hands of a pedophile uncle.
Each of these tales is vivid, intense, and disturbing, and Robinson renders them unforgettable with her deft flair for storytelling and a surprising touch of humor.
EDEN ROBINSON has matriarchal tendencies. Doesn’t have a pressure cooker, but knows how to jar salmon. Her smoked salmon will not likely kill you. Hobbies: Shopping for the Apocalypse, using vocabulary as a weapon, nominating cousins to council while they’re… More about Eden Robinson
“Effectively anonymous, deadpan prose [that] assimilates the discovery that Canadians are as weird and violent as anyone else on the continent.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This is a fine book — unflinching, moving and shockingly, bloodily funny. Eden Robinson offers a raw, muscular, urgent new voice: she writes from the heart, and the more of that, the better.” —A.L. Kennedy
“Robinson is good, frighteningly good. She is a leader in the pack of young writers willing to take on the nasty underside of human experience, and she does it with unwavering nerve and startling humour. She’ll make you laugh when you know you shouldn’t…. She’ll tickle and slap you with the same hand.” —Gail Anderson-Dargatz
“A subtle, brutal, and compelling read.” —Esther Freud
“These [stories] are human dramas which she narrates in a style that is disarming in its simplicity and brutal in its honesty. Combining pathos with biting humour, each of these beautifully crafted narratives has a sting…. Menacing but brilliantly conceived narrative[s].” —Independent on Sunday
“… the Vancouver-based author may well be the first native writer to earn an international reputation …” —Maclean’s 100 Canadians to Watch
“Robinson probes the gritty unpleasant aspects of her culture in an unflinching and honest manner.” —The Edmonton Journal
“I was not prepared for the forceful way in which Eden Robinson’s four stories … captured my attention and permeated my subconscious… Even weeks later … my mind continued to dwell on … the four stories.” —The Globe and Mail
“Eden Robinson is one of those rare artists who comes to writing with a skill and maturity that has taken the rest of us decades to achieve.” —Thomas King