Book Review

 

 

Ifyou like the person-centered stories in Echoes, I think you'llenjoy Traplines.

-- Peter Crownfield

 

Two brief reviews of Eden Robinson'sTraplines


With its straightforward language and sharp realistic images, Traplines is a book that can capture almost any reader's attention. This collection of four short stories captures the essence of what it is like to grow up in the 90's as an underprivileged youth from a troubled family. Eden Robinson shows her readers a darker side of life in a rather fast paced, upbeat way. Her main characters, though harsh and rugged in their own way, evoke compassion from even the most heartless readers. From her first story of alcoholism and abuse to her last story of incest and betrayal, Eden Robinson takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster that leaves them feeling queasy and shaken. But when the story is over, readers find themselves wishing there was more, and thinking the ride went by way too fast.

-- Dana Smith


Traplines is a collection of four stories told in stark, matter-of-fact language that belies the twisted nature of the families trapped within these tales.

Robinson's stories, set in British Columbia, are seen through the eyes of adolescents powerless to escape a web of sex, drugs, alcohol and violence pervading their everyday lives. Meanwhile, their parents' hands are tied by alcohol abuse, financial strain, and denial. But, unlike stereotypical mumbling, shoegazing teenagers, Robinson's protagonists see the deception, perversion, and danger in their lives with startling, unflinching clarity.

Despite the serious nature of the material, the four stories contained within Traplines are saved from doom-and-despair bleakness by an almost cheerful black humor. Indeed, the "sick" jokes and ironic observations made by many of Robinson's characters are what makes the stories so disturbingly enjoyable. Harrowing, joyful and bittersweet, Traplines is an observation of everyday terror -- with the suspension of judgment or justice.

-- Janice S. Bees


 TRAPLINES by Eden Robinson
 Metropolitan Books
 Publication date: November 4, 1996
 ISBN: 0-8050-446-9

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Eden Robinson was born in 1968 and grew up on the Haisla Nation Kitamaat Reserve in British Columbia. She received her B.A. in fine arts from the University of Victoria in 1992, and her Masters in creative writing from the University of British Columbia in 1995. A former mail clerk, dry cleaner, and receptionist, Robinson is now working full-time on her first novel, Monkey Beach.

At twenty-eight, Robinson has already won many literary awards, including the Prism International Magazine Short Fiction Prize, and her work has appeared in publications such as Prism, Windspeaker, and Eye Was Here, an anthology of fiction from British Columbia. Robinson resides in Vancouver.

 

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(updated March 29,1997)

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© Copyright 1997  Echoes Magazine.   All rights reserved.