The Author - Eden Robinson
Monkey Beach was written by Eden Robinson, a Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations writer with a unique voice, a sly wit and a dark imagination. Considered one of Canada’s best young writers, numerous Canadian media have placed Monkey Beach and Eden Robinson on their best lists. The National Post declared Ms. Robinson to be “Ten Authors You Have to Read If You are a Canadian Student”, where Eden Robinson was named alongside Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence and Michael Ondaatje. The CBC also named Monkey Beach and Eden Robinson as one of their top 10 Women writers and top Indigenous novels.
Contemporary and compelling, Eden is the voice of a fearless woman influenced by the strength of her Haisla culture and merged with the pop culture surrealism brought to her village via satellite. Robinson read Stephen King and also listened to age-old Haisla stories told by true storytellers; she watched Sci-Fi and soap operas, and took part in Haisla ceremonies and cultural ways. After earning her B.A., Eden Robinson moved to Vancouver to look for work that would allow her to spend time writing – McJobs’, such as janitor, mail clerk, napkin ironer. She decided to enter the Masters program at the University of British Columbia. This lead to Traplines, her collection of short stories, and from there, to Monkey Beach.
Eden lives in the village of Kitamaat, BC and was born the same day as Edgar Allen Poe and Dolly Parton.
Monkey Beach is a supernatural mystery. Layering tragedy, humour and redemption, it tells the story of Lisa, a rebellious young woman who must confront her long-ignored but powerful connection to the supernatural world that surrounds her—a connection she will need if she is to save her brother who is lost at sea. Monkey Beach is set in the magnificent forests and waterways of the Pacific Northwest and the Haisla village of Kitamaat.
Haisla cultural stories are woven into the contemporary lives of Lisa and her family, along with a cast of otherworldly characters including ghosts and Sasquatches – the ‘monkeys’ of Monkey Beach.
Monkey Beach, the film, is based on Monkey Beach, the novel – the only Canadian Indigenous novel published in the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Estonia, Czech Republic and Holland. Monkey Beach was nominated for two prestigious awards in Canada – the Governor General Award and the Giller Prize. The novel also won glowing reviews from the world press, including: New York Times, London Times, Time Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Washington Post.
“Far more than a novel of psychological transformation…It is, in the best sense, a thriller, a spiritual mystery. The novel also contains some of the truest passages I have read on what it is like to be a teenager… startlingly accomplished, artfully constructed, in places very funny, in others deeply
haunting…Robinson rewards our faith that after all these years writers can still, as Pound said, “make it new”. (from the Washington Post)
Indigenous youth often name Monkey Beach as their top Indigenous novel. It is regularly included in Indigenous Literature workshops and reading assignments involving Indigenous youth. Monkey Beach, the novel, is recognized as part of the canon of Canadian literature. High schools, college and universities throughout Canada, the US and internationally include Monkey Beach in their curriculum.
“Lisa has the dreamer's gift. She sees things in double exposure; the spirit world is ever present in shapes and sounds that overlay the real word. A little man with red hair-the spirit of the huge cedar trees that hug the mountains of the central B.C. cast-is Lisa's primary spirit guide. He warns her of dangers to come. Her struggle is to learn to accept such knowledge and her own gifts.
Still, Lisa is no puritanical seeker. She is a warrior, a "little monster," a tomboy, a maker of fire and a fisher, who becomes a party girl. She is a young woman coping with the loss of people who have given her love and guidance. The physical search for her brother becomes a painful (and often humorous) journey into memory and self-knowledge. Both Robinson and Lisa have the gift of flying between worlds.” -- Jillian Ridington & Karolle Wall, from herizons