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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Gem of a Novel
Eden Robinson has written a quietly engrossing novel about life on the coast of British Columbia, in the small Haisla town of Kitamaat. Lisa Marie (named after Elvis Presley's daughter) has a gift: she can see spirits, even if she does not understand them. Most troubling, she is visited by a little man with red hair who seems to appear at night in her bedroom just...
Published on Jan. 22 2001 by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

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3.0 out of 5 stars On Odd Book with Layers of Meaning
Although on the surface it seems like a simple coming-of-age story, Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson, has layers of meaning. Native lore and beliefs are tied into the modern day setting, such as the big-foot character called the B'gwus, who shows up during important moments. As well there is a theme of family including the good and bad aspects common to every family. The...
Published on March 25 2011 by Crayonmonster


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Gem of a Novel, Jan. 22 2001
By 
Debbie Lee Wesselmann (the Lehigh Valley, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
Eden Robinson has written a quietly engrossing novel about life on the coast of British Columbia, in the small Haisla town of Kitamaat. Lisa Marie (named after Elvis Presley's daughter) has a gift: she can see spirits, even if she does not understand them. Most troubling, she is visited by a little man with red hair who seems to appear at night in her bedroom just before disaster strikes. But this novel is not about Lisa and her visions of Sasquatchs and talking crows; MONKEY BEACH is about the tender bonds forged in life. Her beloved brother Jimmy has disappeared at sea, and the family can only wait for news. Lisa finds herself looking backwards for answers - in the deaths of her favorite uncle Mick and her grandmother, and in her own and her brother's lives. Through these extensive flashbacks, we begin to understand not only the significance of Jimmy's disappearance but also those he has left behind.
Although I found the ending vaguely disappointing, I enjoyed reading this skillful account of a Haisla family. You can count Eden Robinson in with the more famous names of Louise Erdrich, David Treuer, Susan Powers, and Leslie Marmon Silko as an honest portrayer of First Nation life. Her talents are rich and varied, so I expect to see many more books from her in the future. Readers of literary fiction won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, so will you, Sept. 12 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
I don't usually like coming of age stories about teenage shenanigans but these teenagers are truely original as is the beautiful Northwestcoast setting. I revelled in bays and inlets full of killer whales, and seals, and birds, and ghosts that whisper through the trees, really atmosphereic. My prior knowledge of Northwestcoast Indian mythology and art gave it an added dimension. Read and enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Monkey Beach Will Captivate You, May 15 2001
By 
f t barrett (Chico, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson begins at the end and opens up to take you on a spirally path of a few days' journey that stretches over a child's lifetime. Before you know it, you are connected to the family and the village of Haisla people, and you get a first-hand observation of this family and their tangled lives. The language Robinson uses, skillfully raw, but always making its point felt, gives you an intimate sense of the culture of the book's inhabitants. It is a story well-told, deeply moving, highly absorbing, and alive every moment. It is a treat to those of us who grew up in a different world to learn about a culture, not so unlike the rest of North America, yet with its own disfunctions and foodstuffs and myths. It is also a treat to have such a fine writer as Eden Robinson take her story and give birth to it in print to share it with us. I appreciate the other-world connection and Robinson's use of it as real, tangible. My favorite line in the book is: "As I drove away, I felt deeply comforted knowing that magical things were still living in the world."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read it one afternoon..., May 1 2001
By 
Zentao (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
Robinson's book is a great "modern" fairy tale that deftly weaves the sad truth about Native Americans such as reserve life, alcohol, poverty and residential schools with an interesting twist of old mythology. There are liberal doses of hard reality such as broken lives due to substance abuse and hard living mixed in with flights of fancy about the "sasquatch" said to be living in the coastal area in the Queen Charlotte islands.
The book captures the crisis moment for a native family when they are told their son's (who is portrayed as somewhat of a golden child) boat has disappeared off of the coast. The family's story, along with most of the village, is told in a series of intertwined flashbacks that really demonstrate Robinson's excellent narrative skills.
I won't spoil anything else in the fine tale but would highly recommend the story. Anyone who has read Silko, or even De Lindt, will likely enjoy this tale. Those who have recently taken "authentic Indian names" and are looking to exploit more "Indian culture" will likely be disappointed by the fact that Robinson's book really fits in with more "mainstream" works such as Pynchon and Nicholas Christopher. Perhaps we need a new "cubbyhole" called "Native American Dark Urban Fantasy"?
Buy a copy and support real talent!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing the core with aplomb..., April 16 2001
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
Eden Robinson is a rising star of the literary-letter set here in Canada and this book showcases that talent with aplomb. The book is a wonderful delving into the core of its protagonist, Lisa-Marie, as she looks back over her life and the Haisla heritage that surrounds her.
Lisa-Marie is a typical young woman in so many ways; yet, she is a fully spiritual native woman who's not entirely at ease with her heritage. As she explores her past (and the relationships she has held to over the years), Lisa-Marie sets off on an odyssey of the soul, in search for the root meaning and purpose of her life.
This is an excellent arrangement; the prose is beautifully styled and very absorbing. Ms. Robinson is an author who has found her own unique (and genuine) voice and I expect she will turn out more masterful stories in the years ahead. I look forward to her next work.
This book's worth your buck - buy yourself a copy and enjoy... this is a tale you'll be glad you've taken the time to enter into.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bigfoot at the Powwow, May 30 2001
By 
Lee Armstrong (Winterville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
Eden Robinson's first novel is as intriguing as it is fun. The greatest strength was the detail with which she fleshes out each character, even those more minor characters. Her brother Jimmy, her friends Frank, Pooch and Cheese, her cousin and grandmother, even Spotty the crow has a personality! The incidents seem almost real-life like the father's ill-fated attempt to raise chickens. These are characters who grow on you and stay with you. The setting in Canada among the Indian population is fresh; and Eden mines the pastoral description to give a real sense of place in the book. The mystical aspects of the story are intriguing, the forboding little red-haired man that shows up and sits on the dresser. I was a bit confused by the ending, but I have my theory which I will grace you by NOT sharing here! Read the book to see! I think you'll find universal appeal, individuality, and certainly enough suggestion to keep you glued to the page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and engrossing, Dec 4 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
I saw this author give a talk at Powell's sometime in the fall, so I was very excited to see the book available. In person she was fabulous- very funny and interesting, talking about how she wrote the book. Then I read the book, and I was not disappointed! It is kind of dark and yet funny at the same time, set along the coast of, I think, BC. The main character looks back over her life and eccentric family (including crazy cousin Mick, an Elvis fanatic) as they search for her brother, missing off of a commercial fishing boat. There are visits from Big Foot and other "ghosts," and, all in all, I loved it. It was one of those reads where I hate the book to end, and I miss the characters! Really excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, Dec 9 2012
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This review is from: Monkey Beach (Paperback)
Monkey Beach is really good. Especially the quality it came in was incredible. I really connected to the novel even though I am not native or know the native religion. I believe that anyone can fall for the novel if they keep reading none stop, sometimes it is confusing, but it's easy to understand the literature if you have a low vocabulary spend (like me). Anyone could read this and I really recommend reading this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Monkey Beach - Informative and Insightful, Feb. 20 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
A very descriptive book of the B.C. North Coast, also very descriptive of the Native American (Canadian) spiritual beliefs. Woven into an easy to read novel it provides a glimpse into the life of young people today growing in a society where they are learning to adjust the ways of today and integrate the beliefs of their ancestors into their daily life. This is a book from which todays parents and educators may learn a great deal to assist them in bringing forth the best from their children and students.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of Pacific Northwest aboriginal life, Dec 27 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Monkey Beach (Hardcover)
I grew up 20 miles from where this story is set. It brought back many wonderful memories of youthful summers and listening to stories at my Mamaoo's knee. Robinson's description of Kitamaat and village life is dead on! Her vibrant, discriptive narrative allowed me to travel back in time, when my Grandparents would come to visit on their seiner and would tie up at Kitamaat. If you are interested in contemporary First Nations life, Robinson is the woman to write it. I look forward to her next novel.
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Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (Paperback - Jan. 9 2001)
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