Monkey Beach

Monkey Beach

Book - 2000
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As Lisamarie travels by speedboat, five hundred miles north of Vancouver, searching for her drowned brother's body, she recounts her life which has included visits by ghosts and shapeshifters and tormenting premonitions.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2000
ISBN: 9780618101689
Characteristics: 377 p. ; 22 cm


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Aug 06, 2016

there is enough description elsewhere in this comment section - I was completely absorbed, charmed, saddened and impressed with this first novel.

Nov 04, 2015

Heart-breaking and bittersweet, haunting and intriguing, Monkey Beach is a unique coming-of-age story set in the First Nations village of Kitamaat, on BC's north coast. This story provides insight into the culture and traditions of the Haisla people and the contemporary struggles of First Nations young people.

Jul 26, 2015

Eden Robinson's Monkey Beach uses the meander and musings of a Haisla teenager to illustrate the frustration of First Nations youth and the difficulty in reconciling Native culture with a colonial infrastructure that seems to be morally bankrupt. The book is—appropriate to many teens at one time or another—disjointed, confused, simply misinformed in places, poignant in others, grasping at magical solutions to everyday problems, depressingly simplistic at times and morbidly amusing at others. It was a struggle in places. In others, it was absorbing. The magical realism was extreme and at times seemed more gothic than aboriginal. Still, I think this is an important book. It's important that Ms Robinson's voice be heard

AmberKlassen May 07, 2015

Shifts a lot in writing style, but overall is a good read. Lots of interesting cultural aspects which is nice. Would definitely recommend this and am glad I read it :)

The star rating is for me personally.

Apr 01, 2015

My feelings about this book are mixed. I thought it was interesting and informative. I liked the characters and most especially the setting. But I did find it quite choppy and a little depressing.
The story is told by Lisamarie, she tells us of her uncle the activist who can’t seem to make a life her parents find acceptable, of her brother and his obsession with swimming, of her grandmother who teaches her about tradition. We learn of the tragedies of her life (of which there are many) and are left with a little bit of hope, but not much.
The story was good but difficult to get engaged in.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 07, 2014

Once again, Eden Robinson has portrayed her native community with honesty, humour and intelligence. (Traplines, her first collection of stories, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.) This novel focuses on the northern coast of B.C., in the Haisla territory near Kitamaat, where Lisamarie and her family are coming to terms with the news that Jimmy, her younger brother, is missing at sea. Through flashbacks and spirit insights, Lisamarie looks at her life and begins to understand past events; to understand that meeting and leaving, living and dying come at their own time and in their own way.

starman77 Dec 26, 2011

Brilliant. Thought it started out slow, but really glad I kept reading because it gets more and more interesting as the book goes on. I was getting serious shivers down my spine toward the end. Writing style was creative and engaging- I especially liked how memories and events unfolded.

Oct 07, 2011

Fabulous book! With a captivating combination of humour and seriousness, along with a bit of the supernatural, I had a tough time putting this book down. Monkey Beach is a great book to read closely as there are quite a few details that could be missed--it's definitely more than a typical coming-of-age story.

Jul 20, 2011

This was a great book - especially for anyone from Vancouver Island and can relate to these memories!

Mar 22, 2010

I liked this book, serious subjects but a good story with a balance of the modern and traditions of this community.


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Lisa comes of age in Kitamaat, B.C., where her Haida community includes uncles involved in First Nations warrior movements, industrious grandmothers with one foot in the grave and the other in various spirit worlds, and the long-armed specter of residential schools.


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