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Amnesty Book Club-Westdale: Monkey Beach
November 14 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
The Amnesty International Book Club is pleased to announce Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson. This title has been recommended by Métis author, Katherena Vermette.
Monkey Beach combines both joy and tragedy in a harrowing yet restrained story of grief and survival, and of a family on the edge of heartbreak. In the first English-language novel to be published by a Haisla writer, Eden Robinson offers a rich celebration of life in the First Nations community of Kitamaat, on the coast of British Columbia.
The story of Monkey Beach is relayed through the eyes of Lisamarie Hill, a strong young woman with supernatural abilities. Lisamarie’s brother, Jimmy, has gone missing at sea under questionable circumstances. We watch Lisa leave her teenage years behind as she waits for news of her younger brother. She reflects on the many rich episodes of their lives – so many of which take place around the water, reminding us of the news she fears, and revealing the menacing power of nature. But Lisa has a special recourse – a “gift” that enables her to see and hear spirits, and ask for their help. Perhaps in reflecting on these formidable events, a new light will be shed on the ominous circumstances in her life, and within the community of Kitamaat.
Haunting, funny, and vividly poignant, Monkey Beach gives full scope to Robinson’s startling ability to make bedfellows of comedy and the dark underside of life. Informed as much by its lush living wilderness as by the humanity of its colorful characters, Monkey Beach is a profoundly moving story about childhood and the pain of growing older–a multilayered tale of family grief and redemption.
Eden Robinson is a Haisla woman who grew up near Kitamaat, BC. Her previous collection of stories, Traplines, was awarded the Winifred Holtby Prize for the best first work of fiction in the Commonwealth, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and Notable Book of the Year.
Robinson has become one of Canada’s first female Native writers to gain international attention, making her an important role model. She has used her celebrity to draw attention in Time magazine to the Canadian government’s chipping away at Native health care, and to the lack of subsidized housing for urban Natives. She enjoys travelling, and supported herself with travel writing in Europe before the publication of Monkey Beach. She lives in North Vancouver.