This is a beautifully written book told from the perspectives of several different indigenous women that creates the sense of a pervasive and wide-spread trauma within Aboriginal communities.
The narrative may come across as confusing for some readers because it is not told chronologically nor from the same perspective--the story is voiced by different women from the same family. However, the narrative's disjointed, yet connected, structure does a fantastic job at creating a sense of community, interconnectedness, and also fracture within indigenous societies and families. In short, the narrative echoes the effects of intergenerational trauma.
Furthermore, the violent crime at the novel's centre, which ripples outwards across many lives, mirrors the systemic violence that has been acted upon -- and continues to be acted upon -- indigenous groups today.
The story feels cold and depressing due to its winter setting and the events that take place in the narrative. However, while The Break is at times difficult to read due to its heartbreaking content, Vermette does an exquisite job with her narrative structure and her prose, which is beautifully crafted. The author creates a vivid image of life among present-day indigenous communities: the good, the bad, and the inspirational. Despite its bleakness, The Break offers a sliver of hope: hope for both cultural and individual healing for indigenous individuals within the parameters of modern, westernised society. I highly recommend this book.