This eagerly anticipated new novel is Eden Robinson’s most satisfying, disturbing, and addictive to date.
A new novel from one of our best young writers, Blood Sports is the tough, gritty story of the brutal cat-and-mouse relationship between two cousins — Tom and Jeremy Bauer — set in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
Tom, a young man, hardly innocent, has been caught up over the years in Jeremy’s world of drugs, extortion, and prostitutes, while Jeremy, vindictive, vicious, either protects Tom or uses him, but always controls him. Added to the mix is Paulie, a junkie two years clean and Tom’s girlfriend, and also the mother of his daughter. This lethal triangle shifts when word gets out Tom has been talking to the police, and men from the past who have a lot to lose reappear. Suddenly Tom and Paulie are pawns in a much larger game, with everything at stake.
With the storytelling skill and engrossing characterizations that have made her previous books so popular, Robinson keeps the tension humming in this riveting novel. This is Eden Robinson at the height of her powers.
“I was born on the same day as Edgar Allan Poe and Dolly Parton. I am absolutely certain that this affects my writing in some way.”
About the author
Eden Robinson is the internationally acclaimed author of Traplines, Monkey Beach, and Blood Sports. Traplines was the winner of the New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Britain's Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Monkey Beach was nominated for the Giller Prize, the 2000 Governor General's Award for Fiction, and was selected as the Globe and Mail's Editor's Choice. Robinson is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations.
Excerpt: Blood Sports (by (author) Eden Robinson)
If you’re not eighteen yet, I want you to put this letter down right now. Okay? There’s a whole bunch of shit you don’t need to deal with until you’re ready. Your mom (I call her Paulie, even though she hates it. Try it, and you’ll get her Popeye squint) and I talked it over. We agreed not to put the heavy on you because we’re trying not to fuck your head up too bad.
You probably won’t be Melody when you read this. I’m wondering what Paulie will change your name to. Paulie was stuck on Anastasia, after the princess, but I thought no one would be able to spell it and you’d get tagged with Stacy or Staz or anything but your real name. My top choice was Sarah, but Paulie thought that was going to bite you in the ass in school when you met up with the hundred other Sarahs in your class. We went through a whole bunch of baby-name books, and couldn’t agree on a single name. Paulie’s picks were too fancy and she thought mine were dull. Her words in the operating room: “If you fucking stick my girl with Jennifer while I’m under, I will rip your nuts off.”
Paulie wanted an all-natural birth at home. Her friends here are into hippie shit like giving birth in wading pools and eating the placenta. Besides, she hates hospitals, doesn’t think they’re clean enough and hated the thought of you in a germ-factory. I’m not a big fan of hospitals myself, so we were all set to have you enter the world at home (no pool or placenta though). But things got hairy, and Ella, the midwife, called an ambulance. Paulie kept saying she’d spent enough of her life wasted and didn’t want any shit, but she ended up having every drug in the book. I’m sure when she’s mad she tells you what a pain you were to deliver.
Paulie exploded when they put the tent around her belly because she wanted to watch you coming, even if they were going to cut you out. Is your mom all ladylike now? Ha. I bet she is. You wouldn’t believe the things that came out of her mouth, but they put the tent up anyway and she asked me to videotape everything so she could watch it later. I saw the first incision and said, “Can’t do it, Paulie.”
The midwife wouldn’t videotape, but she said she’d describe everything to Paulie. Ella is this tiny fireball, a Filipina in her mid-forties, and she had to hop to peek over. I went and found her a stool and then waited in the hallway because there was no way I could listen to that. I walked down to the vending machine and got a coffee. So I missed your grand entrance. But we have a tape of everything up to that point, even the ambulance ride. I’m sure Paulie’s made you watch it by now. I stapled Ella’s business card to the back of this page, so you can look her up if you want.
I could hear you crying. You were loud as an opera singer. I could hear you all the way down the hall. Sad fact: Your dad is a big old weenie. I got a head rush and had to sit down. When I finally got my rear in gear, the nurse and midwife were checking you out, cleaning you up and swaddling you in the corner. The surgeon was finishing up your mom. She was pretty wiped. We’d been awake for three days by then.
When Paulie asked Ella if she should nurse, Ella laid you on her and you latched just like that. No problemo. All the shit going down and you took it in stride. Your mom’s smile, all proud of you.
“Come around here, you’ve got to see this,” Paulie said. “It’s like she’s mainlining.”
The nurse beside her stiffened. We’d had to disclose about Paulie being in Narcotics Anonymous. I think we freaked some of the staff. The whole week we were in the hospital, they acted like we were going to break out the rigs and turn our room into a shooting gallery.
I never got the deal with newborns. You were bald but hairy, red and wrinkled like any other newborn, and I’m sorry, Mel, but man, that is not a good look on you. You were sucking at Paulina’s boob like there was no tomorrow, your eyes screwed tight in ecstasy.
"Robinson’s sting worked precisely as the trickster in her intended. . . . Like Leonard Cohen, Robinson combines a variety of narrative forms and conflicting styles with such a high degree of technical virtuosity that the very act of reading a cracked and splintered narrative becomes spellbinding, addictive, unstoppable."
—Globe and Mail
"Eden Robinson writes with the violent beauty of a seasoned knifefighter. . . . In her hands, language is a weapon that can leave you bleeding, unsure of just how you were cut. Reading Eden Robinson feels dangerous."
"Blood Sports is a stomach-churning sucker punch of a read for a very talented risk taker."
"A gripping page-turner of a tale. . . . A novel of extreme, even diabolical contrasts. . . . Robinson imbues her novel with continual suspense, carnal voyeurism, and of course, hope."
"Blood Sports is both startlingly original and highly emotionally engaging."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"In print, Robinson is Poe on smack: dark, disturbing and frequently bloody. . . .With spare, taut writing and scenes of torture that would make Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada proud, Robinson has conjured up gripping, page-turning horror in the vein of early Stephen King."
—CBC Arts Online
"Blood Sports is very good: exciting, unexpected and clever."
"Eden Robinson writes some of the most disturbing fiction that Canadian literature has ever seen."
—Quill & Quire