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Trickster Drift

by Eden Robinson

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literary, native american & aboriginal, contemporary
list price: $21.00
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
category: Fiction
published: 2019
ISBN:9780735273443
publisher: Knopf Canada
imprint: Vintage Canada
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Awards
  • Long-listed, Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
  • Short-listed, Sunburst Award For Excellence In Canadian Literature Of The Fantastic
  • Winner, BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
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Description

Following the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Son of a Trickster comes Trickster Drift, a national bestseller and the second book in Eden Robinson's captivating Trickster trilogy.

Jared Martin, seventeen, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: the temptation to slip is constant (thanks to his enabling, ever-partying mom, Maggie). He's being stalked by David, his mom's ex--a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho with a proclivity for rib-breaking. And Maggie, a witch as well as a badass, can't protect him like she used to because he's moved from Kitimat to Vancouver for school.
     He figures that in order to be safe from both magic, addiction and David, he's got to get his grades up, find a job that doesn't involve selling weed cookies, and learn how to live with his Aunt Mave, who has been estranged from the family ever since she tried to "rescue" him as a baby from his mother. Though she smothers him with hugs, Mave is blind to the real dangers that lurk around them--the spirits and supernatural activity that fill her apartment.
     As the son of a Trickster, Jared is a magnet for magic, whether he hates it or not. He sees ghosts, he sees the monster moving underneath his Aunt Georgina's skin, he sees the creature that comes out of his bedroom wall and creepily wants to suck his toes. He also still hears his father in his head, and other voices too. When David finally catches up with him, Jared can't ignore his true nature any longer. And neither can anyone else he loves.

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Excerpt

The clouds finally broke into a sullen drizzle after a muggy, overcast day. Jared Martin flipped up his hood as he turned the corner onto his street. His mom’s truck was in the driveway. The house he’d grown up in was two storeys high, white with green trim. The large porch was littered with work gear. His mom rented out two of the rooms and the basement to pay the bills. Most of her tenants were sub-subcontractors, in Kitimat for a few weeks and unwilling to shell out for a pricey furnished one-bedroom or a motel room. Or they were hard-core smokers who wanted to be able to light up in their rooms and found a kindred spirit in his mom, a dedicated two-packer who hated being forced outside.

He paused on the sidewalk, listening. Things seemed quiet. Which didn’t mean it was safe to go in, but Jared went up the steps and opened the front door. Not visiting his mom before he took off for Vancouver would save him a lot of grief, but it would be such a douche move. She’d never let him forget it.

“Mom?” Jared said.

“In here,” she said, her voice coming from the kitchen.
 
The kitchen windows were all open and moths fluttered against the screens. She was frying a pan of meatballs, her cigarette tucked into the corner of her mouth.

Her hair was in a ponytail. She wore her favourite ripped Metallica T-shirt over jeans and flip-flops. He could see all the little muscles working in her face as she inhaled. She was losing weight again. He hoped it was just coke.

Jared put his backpack down by the table and then hopped up to sit on the counter. His mom salted a pot of boiling water and cracked in some spaghetti.

“Nice of you to show up,” she said.

Jared swung his feet, staring down at them. “Where’s Richie?”

“He is where he is.”

Her boyfriend sold the lighter recreational drugs. They used to get along, but Richie seemed suspicious of Jared now that Jared was sober, like he had suddenly turned into a narc. When they were forced together by his mom, Richie wouldn’t talk to him for fear of incriminating himself.

Jared watched her resentfully making him dinner. She hated cooking. He wished she’d just ordered a pizza. He tried to think of a safe topic of conversation. His Monday night shift at Dairy Queen was normally dull, but his new co-worker had kept stopping to sob into her headset. “Work was nuts. I had to train my replacement. She does not handle stress well.”

“Not many people survive the soft-serve ice-cream racket.”

Ball-buster, his dad called her when he was being charitable. His adoptive dad? His dad. Philip Martin, the guy who had raised him when his biological dad turned out to be a complete dick.

She stirred the pasta. “What? No snappy comeback?”
 
“I’m tired.”

“Yeah, looking down on all us alkies and addicts must be exhaust­ing.”

“Are we going to do this all night?”

“Get the colander.”

Jared hopped down and grabbed the colander from the cupboard above the fridge.

When he handed it to her, she stared at him a moment. Then her lips went thin, the lines around her mouth deepening. “I don’t want you staying with Death Threat,” she said.

Death Threat was the nickname of one of her exes, Charles Redhill, a low-level pot grower who said it would be okay if Jared bunked in his basement while he was going to school in Vancouver, if he didn’t mind working a little security detail in exchange.

“People aren’t exactly lining up to let me sleep on their couches,” Jared said.

“He’s a fuckboy with delusions he’s Brando.”

“Stel-la!” Jared said, trying to make her laugh.

She ignored him as if he wasn’t standing beside her. She took the cigarette out of the corner of her mouth and let the pasta drain in the colander in the sink and then dumped it back in the pot. She poured in a jar of Ragú spaghetti sauce and stirred and then added the meatballs. She crushed the last bit of her cigarette out on the burner and tossed the butt in a sand-filled coffee can near the sink. He carried the pot to the table. She pulled some garlic bread out of the oven.

They ate in silence. Or, more accurately, Jared ate in silence. His mom smoked and picked at a meatball with her fork, slowly mashing it into bits.
 
“Where’s Death Threat’s place?” she said.

Jared shrugged. He was hoping against hope that Death lived near his school, the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Didn’t matter, though. Nothing beat free.

“Nice. I’m your mother and you don’t trust me enough to know where you’re fucking staying.”

“He’s away in Washington State right now. I’m booked at a hos­tel for the first week. Just text my cell.”

“He told you where he lives, right?”

“He’ll show.”

“He’s a fucking pothead. He’ll forget you exist. He forgets where his ass is until someone hands it to him.”

“I can handle myself.”

His mom sucked in a great impatient breath.

“Can we just have a nice supper?” Jared said.

“Can you not live with the spazzy fucktard who calls himself Death Threat?”

“Chill, okay? I just need a free place until my student loan comes in, then I’ll find a room or something.”

“Buttfucking Jesus on goddamn crutches.”

“Mom.”

“Don’t Mom me, genius. This is a crap plan.”

“It’s my life,” Jared said, pushing the plate away.

“Jared, you can barely manage warding. What’re you going to do if you run into something really fucking dangerous?”

His mom was a witch. For real. As he had found out definitively, just before he swore off the booze and the drugs. He’d always thought she was being melodramatic when she told him witch stuff. Then he was kidnapped by some angry otters and his shape-shifting father/
sperm donor stepped in to save him, along with his mother. He only lost a toe. Her particular talent was hexes, though she preferred giv­ing her enemies a good old-fashioned shit-kicking. Curses tended to bite you in the ass, she’d told him, and weren’t nearly as satisfying as physically throttling someone.

“Who’s going to bother me?” Jared said. “I got nothing anyone wants.”

“You’re the son of a Trickster,” she hissed.

“There’s a billion of us.” On one website he’d found 532 people claiming to be the children of Wee’git. Either Wee’git couldn’t keep it in his pants or a lot of people wanted to appear more exotic.

“You think you’re so fucking smart,” his mom said.

Jared recited the Serenity Prayer in his head. She shook another cigarette out of the pack and lit it off her butt before crushing it out on the full ashtray in the middle of the table. The TV went on in the living room. The recliner squealed.

“I’ll be out of your hair tomorrow,” Jared said. “You can forget you ever had me and party yourself to death.”

“You are testing my patience.”

It was always a bad sign when his mom stopped swearing. Jared focused on the tick of the kitchen clock to stay calm.

“You think I don’t love you,” she said. “Is that it?”

“I don’t think I’m high on your priority list.”

She got up and stood over him. She took her cigarette out of her mouth and he half-expected to get it in his face. He must have flinched, because her eyes narrowed dangerously.

She grabbed his chin. “You shoulda been a girl. Wah. Mommy doesn’t fucking love me. My feelings. My feeeeeelings.”

He shoved her hand away. “Get off me.”
 
“Are we done emoting?”

“I am.”

She backed up a step. “So I asked my sister if you could stay with her.”

Holy crap. Jared was stunned. His mom hadn’t spoken to her sis­ter since . . . forever. God. She really didn’t want him to stay with Death Threat.

“I dunno,” Jared said.

“Mave’s willing to put you up,” his mom said. “But be careful. She’s deaf to magic. Don’t bring it up around her. She’ll think you’re nuts and try to get you on antipsychotics.”

“I thought you hated her.”

“I do.”

She took a piece of paper out of her jean pocket and handed it to him. His throat tightened when he saw the name and number. His aunt, Mavis Moody, had tried to get custody of him when he was a baby, figuring her sister would be bad for any baby. His mom had married Philip Martin to avoid losing Jared. He couldn’t meet his mom’s eyes knowing how much of her pride she’d sacrificed to find him a safer place to crash. He dropped his head.

“Don’t say I never did anything for you,” she said.

Jared reached down, rifled through his backpack and gave her his grad picture.

She frowned. “Are you throwing it in my face? I only have grade eight and you’re a fucking high school graduate? You think that makes you special?”

“It’s just a picture,” Jared said. “Toss it if you don’t like it.”

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Contributor notes

EDEN ROBINSON is the author of a collection of novellas called Traplines, which won the Winifred Holtby Prize in the UK. Her first novel, Monkey Beach, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award for Fiction. It was followed by Blood Sports, and then Son of a Trickster, the first instalment of her trilogy, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads. Trickster Drift, the second book in the trilogy, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. In 2017, Eden was awarded the Writers' Trust Fellowship. She lives in Kitimat, BC.

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Editorial Review

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Winner of the 2019 BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 Sunburst Awards in Adult Fiction
Longlisted for the 2019 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
“The book is full of light and love. Robinson has a loopy and wonderful sense of humour, expressed not just by her trademark laughter but her delightful author’s bios.” —The Globe and Mail
"This is a fantastic ride that everyone needs to take.” —Joshua Whitehead, author of Jonny Appleseed, The Writers’ Trust of Canada

“Crafting such exquisite coming-of-age tales that can bring equal parts tears of sadness and laughter takes a certain kind of narrative genius.” —The Vancouver Sun

“Robinson balances realist, coming-of-age subject matter against a supernatural horror-fantasy plot with a comic tone. . . . Robinson understands, like few writers do, how comedy (when committed to fully) can enhance and deepen unfunny emotions such as horror, sadness and pain.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“Canadian Haisla/Heiltsuk writer Eden Robinson has delivered the second in her Trickster trilogy—the first installment, Son of a Trickster, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. Trickster Drift is even better. It’s an enlightening, entertaining and very funny novel.” —NOW Magazine

“Robinson handles the new instalment of Jared’s story with ease and grace, her trademark good humour and often-disturbing imagination in equal display. Trickster Drift unfolds with the tempo of a literary realist novel, unfolding to include multiple facets of the urban indigenous experience while continuing to incorporate mysteries from other worlds. . . . The third novel can’t come soon enough.” —Toronto Star

“Riveting sequel. . . . Robinson has created a smart, funny and very likeable character in Jared and the reader will yearn for his success and fear for him as the evitable pull to embrace his power is realized.” —Pique 

“Straddles the line between violent trauma and humour and tenderness so gracefully. . . . [Robinson] expresses the internal compass of someone’s mind in such a real way.” —National Observer
 
“If you liked Jared in the first book, you will love him in this one.” —Greater Victoria Public Library

“The mix of sharp comedy, quick character sketches, and unsettling horror is note-perfect.” —Quill & Quire

PRAISE FOR SON OF A TRICKSTER, FIRST OF THE TRICKSTER TRILOGY:

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Shortlisted for the Sunburst Award (Adult Category) [2018]
Finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize [2018]
Nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen Award [2018]
Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize [2017]

“A novel that shimmers with magic and vitality, featuring a compelling narrator, somewhere between Holden Caulfield and Harry Potter. Just when you think Jared’s teenage journey couldn’t be more grounded in gritty, grinding reality, his addled perceptions take us into a realm beyond his small town life, somewhere both seductive and dangerous. Energetic, often darkly funny, sometimes poignant, this is a book that will resonate long after the reader has devoured the final page.” —2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury (André Alexis, Anita Rau Badami, Lynn Coady and Richard Beard)

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About the Author

Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson is the internationally acclaimed author of Traplines, Monkey Beach, and Blood Sports. Traplines was the winner of the New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Britain's Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Monkey Beach was nominated for the Giller Prize, the 2000 Governor General's Award for Fiction, and was selected as the Globe and Mail's Editor's Choice. Robinson is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations.
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