For author Eden Robinson, saying goodbye to the “Trickster” trilogy feels like a “mutual breakup.”
For the past decade, Robinson says the supernatural book series had been occupying her mind from the moment she wakes up, to those last hazy thoughts while drifting off to sleep.
As “Return of the Trickster” hit shelves Tuesday, Robinson, who is from the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations, said the culmination of her coming-of-age tale about a young Indigenous man grappling with his magical family history has created a conscious void.
“It’s left a huge hole where I wake up and go, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s done.’ And go to sleep and go, ‘Oh, I don’t really have a book yet.’”
Normally, Robinson said she’d move on to her next writing project. But for now, the Kitamaat Village, B.C.-based writer feels like she could use a “breather” as she closes the book on “Trickster” amid the fallout from the cancellation of the TV adaptation of her series.
“It’s like a mutual breakup,” said Robinson, 53. “You have to be alone by yourself.”
In January, CBC pulled the plug on the second season of the “Trickster” series, which premiered to positive buzz last fall, after a CBC News report questioned co-creator Michelle Latimer’s claims of Indigenous identity.
The public broadcaster said the decision to end “Trickster” was made in consultation with members of the creative team, including Robinson, who in a statement said seeing a young, Indigenous cast “soar” was “one of the best parts of 2020” for her.
Ahead of the show’s debut last October, Robinson told The Canadian Press she kept picturing the actors as their characters while writing “Return of the Trickster.”
Robinson said releasing the book with the knowledge that those visions won’t be realized feels “surreal.”
She declined to comment further on the cancellation of the CBC series. But Robinson she’s had her fill of the film and TV world for a while.
“That was enough,” she said. “I’m done.”
Robinson’s preferred medium is the page. But in crafting the supernatural final showdown in “Return of the Trickster,” the author said she sought to emulate the oral tradition of one-upmanship that shaped the trickster stories she was raised on.
“When I’m listening to two storytellers battling back and forth, it’s always thrilling,” said Robinson. “I was hoping to have that same sense in the last book, that we’ve gone as far up as we can go.”
The final installment of the trilogy raises the stakes for protagonist Jared — who like his biological father, is a shape-shifting, dimension-trotting trickster — as he faces off against his ogress aunt and her pack of organ-gobbling coy wolves.
Jared is joined in this battle by a motley crew of mythical beings, including a witch, a sasquatch and an octopus monster.
Robinson said Jared’s strength lies not only in his supernatural abilities, but the connections he’s made throughout the series.
She feels the same is true of her own success, which she said wouldn’t be possible without the support of her community.
“With the Haisla and Heiltsuk, you are an individual, but you’re also thoroughly enmeshed in your community,” said Robinson.
“If you’re given a big name, you have a lot of status, but you also have a lot of crushing responsibility.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021.
Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press