Monkey Beach

Monkey Beach

by Eden Robinson
  • from-british-columbia
  • from-the-north
  • indigenous
  • literary

From 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.

Spellbinding, funny and vividly poignant, Monkey Beach gives full scope to Robinson's startling ability to make bedfellows of comedy and the dark 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, author

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.


  • 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
  • “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
  • Beautifully written and haunting, this is an impressive debut. - The Times, UK


  • Longlisted, IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • Finalist, 2000 Giller Prize
  • Winner, BC Book Prize for Fiction
  • Finalist, 2000 Governor General's Award in Fiction

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: The Bukowski Agency



rights sold: Canada (Knopf/ Vintage-2000), US (ebook: Open Road), France (Albin Michel), France (Pocket Book; reprint: J'ai lu)

rights available: World, excl. Canada and France

Additional Information

number of pages: 384

publication date: 01/09/2001

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book

Additional Materials: More on Monkey Beach