Brilliant, jubilant insights into the glory and anguish of life from one of the world’s most treasured Indigenous creators. 

Trickster is zany, ridiculous. The ultimate, over-the-top, madcap fool. Here to remind us that the reason for existence is to have a blast and to laugh ourselves silly.

Celebrated author and playwright Tomson Highway brings his signature irreverence to an exploration of five themes central to the human condition: language, creation, sex and gender, humour, and death. A comparative analysis of Christian, classical, and Cree mythologies reveals their contributions to Western thought, life, and culture—and how North American Indigenous mythologies provide unique, timeless solutions to our modern problems. Highway also offers generous personal anecdotes, including accounts of his beloved accordion-playing, caribou-hunting father, and plentiful Trickster stories as curatives for the all-out unhappiness caused by today’s patriarchal, colonial systems.

Laugh with the legendary Tomson Highway as he illuminates a healing, hilarious way forward.

About the author(s)

TOMSON HIGHWAY is a Cree author, playwright, and musician. His memoir, Permanent Astonishment, won the 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. He also wrote the plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, and the bestselling novel Kiss of the Fur Queen. He is a member of the Barren Lands First Nation and lives in Gatineau, Quebec.


Highway’s determinedly positive view of his early life … carries over to this series of lectures. … He is a storyteller who has gathered many stories and lived many lives himself.

The humour here might be outrageous, but it is also kind. … It is a book of wisdom and healing and, ultimately, a book of joy.

One of the central pleasures of reading Highway’s text [is] his insistence on humour, often of a baldly ribald variety. Contrasted with European traditions full of deities who never crack a smile, the Trickster in Highway’s tradition is ‘zany.’ … By examining Indigenous stories, ways of living, dying, and – yes – laughing, … Highway [offers] powerful alternatives to hierarchical structures of society that insist on consuming the Earth’s natural resources at an unsustainable pace … If we can come to understand that our societal constructs are simply stories, and that we have the power to change those stories, there may be hope for our species and our planet. And if we can manage to find a way to laugh while we do it, so much the better.

Highway’s approach is dynamic, and based in humour … Despite its lofty subject matter, most of the book feels utterly personal, and very intimate; the chapters may be performance pieces, later released on the radio, but the connection is as close as that of a small group around a fire.

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