Traplines & Blood Sports

Traplines - Eden Robinson Blood Sports - Eden Robinson

If there is such a category as BC Noir, then Eden Robinson's books Traplines (4*) and Blood Sports (3*) epitomize this category for me.


I'm combining the review of both books here because Blood Sports is the continuation of Contact Sports, one of the short stories contained in Traplines.


Having discovered Robinson's work through her novel Monkey Beach, I was not quite sure whether her other work would follow paths and include similar themes or whether it would be wholly different. 


As in Monkey Beach, both Traplines and Blood Sports are written from the point of view of teenagers or people who have had to learn to become adults rather early. However, where the rites of passage in Monkey Beach are accompanied by a sense of community based on legends and a presence of the supernatural, all the stories in Traplines and Blood Sports are focused on people growing up trapped in the gritty and dysfunctional fringes of society, dealing with violence, addiction, despair, and seemingly unable to grasp at any opportunity that could lead a way out of it, even if it seems to be offered.


Violent and gritty but at the same time moving. And none more so than Contact Sports / Blood Sports which is set in Vancouver's East Side at a time when it was classed as the most dangerous place in Canada. 


The story follows Tom, who wants to escape the world of crime and addiction and settle down with his young family. Tom is haunted and - literally - hunted by his drug-dealing, video-blogging psychopath cousin Jeremy, who will stop at nothing to wage revenge on people who he thinks have betrayed him.


If you need trigger warnings - this book pretty much has all of the ones I can think of, and more.

It's still a pretty good read. 


"Nothing existed. Nothing had ever existed but the pain. He squealed, he heard the sounds ripping through his throat, and he fought the ropes. He screamed and he screamed and he threw himself forward so the ropes would tighten and it would end."