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Copyright © 2021 Eden Robinson

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Published in 2021 by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto. Distributed in Canada by Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto.


Knopf Canada and colophon are registered trademarks.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Title: Return of the trickster / Eden Robinson.

Names: Robinson, Eden, author.

Description: Series statement: The trickster trilogy ; 3

Identifiers: Canadiana (print) 20200272179 | Canadiana (ebook) 20200272268 | ISBN 9780735273467 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780735273481 (EPUB)

Classification: LCC PS8585.O35143 R48 2021 | DDC C813/.54—dc23

Text design by Kelly Hill

Cover design by Kelly Hill

Cover images: (feathers) © Anastasia Shemetova, (wolf) © Tobias Knoepfli, both iStock / Getty Images

Interior images: (feathers) © Tanor / Shutterstock.com


For Annie, Violet & MJ

Angels together

Sometimes the sun forces the eyes open. And as much as the eyelids resist, it’s hard to keep them shut. This is the harsh reality of waking up in a ditch.

—Waubgeshig Rice, Midnight Sweatlodge


1. Sloppy Dead

2. Regret Tastes like Diet Soda

3. Yea, Though I Walk through the Valley

4. Wee’git

5. The Roche Limit of Love

6. In the Realm of the Wild Man

7. The Darker Stars of Heaven

8. The Death of Philip Martin

9. Sarah

10. Maggie

11. Day Drinking with Maggie and Jared

12. Get Angry

13. The Shadow of Death

14. Wee’git

15. Hair of the Dog

16. The Self-Serve Checkout Counter Does Not Judge

17. Cthulhu, do do do do do do

18. Adventures in Babysitting

19. There’s This Thing That Follows Me Around

20. The Bloop

21. Double Trouble

22. Queens of the Anthropocene

23. Love, and Be Silent

24. Anita

25. Qui veut noyer son chien l’accuse de la rage

26. Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast

27. Maggie

28. Oh chispa loca

29. You Smell So Good

30. Kilonova

31. The General Features of a Systems Collapse

32. I Am as Inexorable as the Waves





The IV dripped cold into Jared Martin’s arm, a remarkably grounding sensation. Saline—he remembered the nurse telling him he was dehydrated, and that he kept throwing up the water they gave him. Bile scorched the back of his throat. An unseen ambulance warbled, growing louder. The lights were achingly bright. The hospital mattress was firm against his back and the pale curtains surrounding his bed were shut. Through these fabric walls, he could hear other patients in the Kitimat General Hospital emergency ward murmuring with their families, friends, lovers. A scream cut through the quiet as electric doors swooshed open somewhere near, bringing the smell of rain, then closed. Voices shouted information and instructions at each other as a lone male voice howled, guttural. He shivered.

Nausea hit again. Jared’s stomach cramped. The nurse had given him a little cardboard container for his vomit, but it was full and pungent, reeking on the medical table. Jared slid off the bed. The floor was cold against his bare feet. He yanked off the clear tape that held the IV in place and carefully pulled out the needle. The other bed curtains were shut, but through the gaps he could see patients listening intently as another male voice joined the first. He made it out to the corridor, where he watched two men fight free of the paramedics and a lone police officer to grapple with each other. A security guard ran past Jared as the men threw punches that landed with earnest thuds. Jared covered his mouth as he started to heave. He pushed open the heavy bathroom door and threw up into the toilet.

Blood, bright red against the white enamel, diffused in tendrils in the water. Copper in his mouth. The muscles in his throat clenched and released until he threw up again, this time a stew of blood and chunks. His stomach burned, a hot pain like accidentally swallowing a live coal. The searing intensified until it was as if he’d swallowed the whole barbecue pit.

Oh, God, Jared thought. I’m dying.

He could hear police sirens in the distance. He hurled, and could feel large, firm masses working their way up his throat, blocking his breathing. Dizziness hit as he fought for air. He crawled towards the door, spewing strange sacs of flesh, bloody and self-contained, shapes his biology classes led him to guess were organs, a spleen maybe. A kidney. Jared tried to scream, but it came out as a gurgle as he puked again. He felt his intestines shift, and then an intense urge to defecate.

God, he thought. Oh, God. Please.


Not God. Only the voice of his biological father, Wee’git. The transforming raven was speaking to him as magical beings speak to one another, sharing thoughts. The insanity of the magic Jared had unleashed left him with no way to deny he was a Trickster himself, that he was a part of the crazy, that his amateur dabbling had created the shitstorm that had eventually landed him in Emerg. Again. All his relationships changed now, except the rotten one he had with his bio dad. Normally, Jared would tell him to fuck right off, but his organs were running amok in the hospital bathroom and he had no pride left. Please help me.

You’ve pushed way past the limits of your magical ability, you lumbering dolt, Wee’git thought at him. Stop blubbering and call your damn organs back to your body.

I don’t know how.

Pretend it’s a dream. Will your organs back in your body. Will your blood and guts to behave. You’re the boss. Make them listen to you.

He still couldn’t breathe. The part of him that didn’t want to admit he was something other than a regular human fought the part of

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