The Bukowski Agency - Monkey Beach

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95,000 words paperback
Finished books available


US: Houghton Mifflin
US eBook: Open Road
UK: Little, Brown
Canada: Knopf/ Vintage (2000)
Czech Republic: Havran
Estonia: Hotger
France: Albin Michel
France (Pocket Book Reprint): J'ai lu
Germany: Rowohlt
Netherlands: Prometheus


Eden Robinson (Photo: Arthur Renwick)
(Photo: Arthur Renwick)

Eden Robinson is a Haisla woman who grew up near Kitimat, British Columbia. Her collection of stories, Traplines, was awarded the Winifred Holtby Prize for the best first work of fiction by a Commonwealth writer and was a New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book of the Year. Monkey Beach, Robinson's acclaimed first novel, won the B.C. Book Prize for Fiction, was a finalist for the 2000 Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award, and was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Monkey Beach - French cover

Monkey Beach - German cover

Monkey Beach

a novel by Eden Robinson


Monkey Beach coverFrom Eden Robinson, acclaimed as one of Canada's most original voices, comes this rich and haunting story of a family on the edge of heartbreak. Set amidst the long, cool shadows of B.C.'s Rocky Mountains, Monkey Beach is a novel with the power to remind us that places, as much as people, have stories to tell.

On the peaceful shore of the Douglas Channel lies the remote Haisla community of Kitamaat, British Columbia. Seventeen-year-old Jimmy Hill, ambitious and handsome, is the pride of the village: an Olympic hopeful. Despite being sought after by the local boy-chasers, serious-minded Jimmy shows little interest in courtship – until he falls in love with Karaoke, tough as nails and the village beauty. But their young romance is cut short by the news of a horrifying accident at sea and Jimmy's mysterious disappearance.

Circling the disaster are Monkey Beach's remarkable and endearing characters: Jimmy's older sister Lisamarie, our wayward narrator; their loving parents, struggling to marry their Haisla heritage with Western ways; Uncle Mick, Native-rights activist and devoted Elvis fan; the thrifty, self-directed Ma-ma-oo (Haisla for "grandmother"), guardian of the old traditions. But Lisamarie has other advisors less tangible or trustworthy: ghosts, Monkey Beach - Dutch coversasquatches and animal spirits that weave their way into her life as she struggles with Jimmy's vanishing.

Spellbinding, funny and vividly poignant, Monkey Beach gives full scope to Robinson's startling ability to make bedfellows of comedy and thedark underside of life. Informed as much by its lush, living wilderness as by the humanity of its colourful characters, this is a profoundly moving story about childhood and the pain of growing older – a multilayered tale of family grief and redemption.


“Eden Robinson has written a great book. Tough, tender, and fierce. Monkey Beach is a valuable addition to North American literature.”  — SHERMAN ALEXIE

“Beautifully written and haunting, this is an impressive debut.”  — THE TIMES, UK

Monkey Beach is far more than a novel of psychological transformation, though it is that. 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.... Puberty has rarely received such a perceptive and unflinching gaze. You can tell Monkey Beach is an original because you actually want to read it again.... A startlingly accomplished first novel.”  — THE WASHINGTON POST

“Although death hangs like a Pacific mist over these pages, Robinson, herself a Haisla, fills this edifying book with the stuff of the living, from the tiniest details of Haisla life to the mightiest universals of tradition, desire and family love.”  — THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Robinson’s paean to the Pacific Northwest and Haisla culture, embodied in her stout-hearted hero and all her other vital and complex characters, does what good literature does best: It moves meaningfully from the particular to the universal and back again. And Robinson performs this enlightening feat with genuine insight, wry humor and translucent lyricism.”  — THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Robinson has created a convincing, well-written work, filled with the sadness of a disappearing way of life and a family’s grief.”  — SEATTLE TIMES

“As a writer she pays attention to the significance of small things: crows, Kraft Dinners, soapberry mash. As a storyteller she captures a place and its inevitable impact on the people who live there. Her descriptions of the Canadian Pacific wilderness are sensual and evocative. The result is a sort of magical realism firmly rooted in the familiar trappings of the real world.”  — PORTLAND OREGONIAN


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