The Evolution of the Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change by Kij Johnson

Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Evolution of the Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change
Author: Kij Johnson
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Tricksters
Dates read: 24th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Voices in assent: pats remembered.

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What would we do if dogs could suddenly talk? Would we still be able to love them unconditionally, or would we suddenly realise that love isn’t everything?


I read this story while I had my dogs curled up on either side of me. Which seemed kind of… suited. After all, this is a tale about dogs learning to use words and gaining yet another level of individuality. Although, as is often pointed out, the dogs are still our loyal companions. They still love us. They can just communicate a little better.

The mini chapters within this short story were really interesting. They each started with a dog story, ones that all felt familiar, both in a positive light and negative light. Then, they flipped back to present day and the trials which the dogs in this story were facing. It was a little tragic in many cases, but it also highlighted the plight of dogs the world over. Actually, my biggest confusion about this was the fact that I didn’t really know how the theme of tricksters fit in until towards the very end of the story.

Coyote is one of the most famous tricksters of folklore. So it was fun to find that he came into this full circle with his canid cousins. After reading a tale that made me question my own relationship with my dogs, it was nice to return to the trickster theme. What a way to finish off a collection of trickster tales.

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