In the beginning, there was nothing. Just the water.
Coyote was there, but Coyote was asleep. That Coyote was
asleep and that Coyote was dreaming. When that Coyote
dreams, anything can happen.
I can tell you that.
Thomas King, Green Grass Running Water1
'Coyote' is one of the names of the trickster figure in Native Canadian mythology, and in Thomas King's 1993 novel Green Grass Running Water, the ambiguously gendered Coyote is creative and powerful, but also mischievous and prone to blunders. One of Coyote's dreams is about a dog, but the dream gets loose, reverses its name, and proclaims itself GOD; subsequently, GOD'S attempt to rename and reclassify everything in Canada according to a Christian worldview is counteracted by a group of shape-shifting Indigenous deities. In the carnivalesque world of King's novel, the trickster continually disrupts efforts to establish fixed identities based on nationality or race, sexuality or gender, religion or social class. Such disruption can be seen as part of a larger, transnational postmodern project, which–in basic terms–discredits the coherent, knowable subject which was largely taken for granted in earlier periods. In the specific context of Canada, the question of national identity becomes particularly compelling, since the general difficulty
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Publication information: Book title: Canadian Literature. Contributors: Faye Hammill - Author. Publisher: Edinburgh University Press. Place of publication: Edinburgh. Publication year: 2007. Page number: 1.
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