Brennan’s Picks: Monkey Beach

Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson.

“We are introduced to our narrator, 20-year-old Lisamarie Hill while she is in a fog of chain smoking, coffee chugging grief. The fishing boat her younger brother was working on is missing and so is he. Her shattered parents are flying out to be closer to the search leaving Lisamarie at home with her Auntie, her smokes and her ghosts.

The story is centered around Kitimat Village, the ancestral lands of the Haisla people (and author). The Hills are Haisla and through Lisa’s memories we watch her grow. We see how the layers of trauma wrought by colonization can break families apart but also the power of tradition and love to bring them back together. Her immediate family (Mom, Dad, Brother) mostly live a modern, 9 to 5 life but Lisa is drawn to the older ways and gravitates to her Grandma and Uncle who are more connected to them.

We soon realize Lisa has a connection to more than just the land. She is connected the creatures and spirits that most can never see. Some want to help others want to feed. Some exist in the flesh others the spirit realm although the line between is blurred if it ever existed. The tapestry of Lisa’s memories holds pieces to a puzzle that might lead her to her brother if she can put them together in time.

Monkey Beach is the book that launched Eden Robinson into the world of CanLit royalty and her place is well deserved. This is a sad and beautiful story from my new favorite author. let me know what you think.”

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