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The Break

Stella, a young Metis mother, lives with her family by the Break, an isolated strip of land on the edge of their small Canadian town. Glancing out of her window one winter's evening Stella spots someone in trouble; horrified, she calls the police. But when they arrive, no one is there, scuff marks in the compacted snow the only sign anything may have happened.

What follows is a heartbreaking and powerful tale of a community in crisis as the people connected to the victim, a young girl on the edge of a precipice, begin to lay bare their stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou is a social worker grappling with the end of a relationship. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre with no one to turn to. Officer Scott is a Metis policeman caught between two worlds.

A powerful family saga, Katherena Vermette's urgent, acclaimed and multi-award-winning novel shines a light on the fear every woman carries within her?fear of male power and violence?and on the love and empathy shared by all women.

'I loved this - very tough and real.' Margaret Atwood

'Katherena Vermette is a tremendously gifted writer, a dazzling talent . . . The lives of the girls and women in The Break are not easy, but their voices are complex, urgent and unsparing. Vermette lays bare what it means to survive, not only once, but multiple times, against the forces of private and national histories.' Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

'Vermette is a staggering talent. Reading The Break is like a revelation; stunning, heartbreaking and glorious. From her exquisitely rendered characters to her fully realized world and the ratcheting tension, I couldn't put it down. Absolutely riveting.' Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach
Booklovers earn $1.45 in rewards when purchasing this title

PRODUCT DETAILS

  • Title: The Break
  • Author: Katherena Vermette
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin
  • ISBN: 9781760632274
  • Length: 234.0 millimetre
  • Width: 153.0 millimetre
  • Languages: English

RATINGS & REVIEW

5/01/2018 8:26:29 PM - Marianne
Vermette’s debut novel is a brilliant read
The Break is the first novel by Canadian poet, film-maker and award-winning author, Katherena Vermette. Late one cold February night, a small-town Canadian Police Department gets a 911 call. Stella McGregor, a young Metis wife and mother, is witnessing an assault on a stretch of land known as The Break, adjacent to her home. While there are still signs of a scuffle in the snow by the time two officers arrive, they are dubious about the witness’s assertion that a woman has been raped: the broken beer bottle and the pool of blood point to a gang fight. But rookie Officer Tommy Scott, himself Metis, persists when his older (white) partner is ready to close the case, and the appearance of a horrifically injured teenaged girl in the Emergency Department of the local hospital validates his instincts. As the girl’s family gather around to provide support, the reader learns not just her story, but those of her extended family and close friends. The tale is told over a few days in February, from the perspective of multiple narrators, who of course colour it with their own experiences and views. The characters are well-developed, the prose is often exquisite, and the strong connection to family and place makes it reminiscent of some of Ron Rash’s fine work. Vermette’s familiarity with, and love for, the Metis nation is apparent in every paragraph. This novel may be described as literary crime, with the emphasis on literary, because the perpetrator becomes fairly obvious early on. The story is definitely character- rather than plot-driven. It is no surprise that it has been a been a bestseller since its release in Canada, and won multiple awards. Vermette’s debut novel is a brilliant read and it will be interesting to see what this talented author does next. With thanks to Allen & Unwin and GoodReads Giveaways for this copy to read and review.
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