Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To call this novel a coming of age story is a bit of a misdirection. It has elements of that but there is a lot more going on. I'm still a bit confused by this novel, honestly. Jared is a first nations kid in Canada who sometimes lives on the reservation. He has very little parenting, his grandmother claims he is not completely human and has some trickster in him, and he starts experiencing a realm of the supernatural. But then again, he's also someone who sells pot cookies and drinks more than he should, so part of my skeptical brain wondered if these experiences weren't just the fallout of chemicals in the brain of a not fully formed teenager.
The people in his life who are most connected to this supernatural world, of witches and spells and general animism, seem to also be the most unreliable, so that begs another question.
At the same time Jared has to bear more responsibility than he should have to. He has to figure out how to keep the power on when his Mom takes off, he ends up caring for an infant when his stepsister takes off, he is rejected by part of his family. So I found myself feeling very empathetic towards him. Near the end he attends a meeting to attempt a journey toward sobriety and it is so ill-received by his friends and family that it is obvious this is going to be a repeated struggle.
The end of the book reveals where (the alleged) book 2 will go, but I'm not sure this book needs a sequel.
I read this when it was longlisted for the Tournament of Books and came up as probably a dark horse. However I did know about it because of its place on the Giller Prize shortlist.
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