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Split Tooth

Written by: Tanya Tagaq
Narrated by: Tanya Tagaq
Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 43.77
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize

From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you've ever heard.

Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.

A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy and friendship and parents' love. She knows boredom and listlessness and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.

When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this.

Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains.

Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine listeners will never forget.

©2018 Tanya Tagaq (P)2018 Viking

What the critics say

“Tagaq’s surreal meld of poetry and prose transmutes the Arctic’s boundless beauty, intensity, and desolation into a wrenching contemporary mythology.” (The New Yorker)

“Though the protagonist’s coming-of-age story, generously and lovingly documented by Tagaq, is the anchor, Split Tooth is not a book that can be fully absorbed in one sitting. It’s possible to sink deeper and deeper into the narrative with each successive reading. Like a smirking teenager, Split Tooth blithely gives typical literary expectations the finger, daring us to see and experience narrative as chaotic, emotional, and deeply instinctive. And it succeeds.” (Quill and Quire)

“Tanya’s book is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever read. It’s deeply profound, emotional and personal, and furthers her artistic experimentation and genius into a new realm. I love her even more after reading it, and I’m once again awed by her talent.” (Jesse Wente, CBC Broadcaster)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, haunting and chilling. It's visceral.

Originally I was going to purchase the book to read but when I saw it was available for audio and read by the author herself I knew I had to enjoy this way.
Tanya Tagaq tells the story about growing up in Nunavut in the '70s and the impact it has had on her being. Spoken in her soft and delicate voice, it's as if she is telling you a secret and you must never tell. From the alcoholism and betrayals of loved ones to the daily bullying at school all the way to the warmest and safest moments we keep guarded in our hearts. She weaves a tale that begins so grounded you can feel the cold, smell the tea and taste the meat. Then you are transferred to the most fantastic you're unsure how you ended up in the spirit world she just spun you there so seamlessly.
I'm sure this is just as powerful a read but I truly recommend you listen instead, she transitions you between chapters with gorgeous throat singing and visceral sounds you're unsure if they are human or spirit.

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Breathtaking

Worth every penny. Will listen again. It’s a magical journey from beginning to end. The imagery is amazing.

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heavy & poetic

definitely worth getting as an audiobook! Tanya Tegaq has a wonderfully expressive cadence as she reads ends each chapter with throat signing. the story is chilling and heart wrenching.

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  • Rochelle
  • 2018-09-26

Confronting, Captivating

This audio edition includes vocal performances by Tanya Tagaq. She also narrates the audio & her artistic vocal performance is used with full effect. I can't help thinking that anyone reading the print edition is missing out.

I'm a sucker for a novel written with rhythm & rhyme. When an author has put that level of thought into their construction & when it works, it is a beautiful thing. This novel is a beautiful thing.

It is also horrible, terrible, confronting, magical, captivating, punishing and generous. It destroys and creates. And destroys & creates.

Split Tooth may fall into the category of "auto fiction". It's part memoir, part fiction & Tagaq isn't telling which is which.

I'm not sure what to reveal about the content otherwise. Do readers want to know that they will be confronted with terrible child abuse? With terrifying childhood exploits? It's a coming of age tale but not as you know it. It is folkloric but there are no fairytales here. I loved the revenge fantasy (can I hope this part is real? I want to believe it is real). I loved the character as Earth, despoiled & birthing. All things.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-10-08

Deep and wild

Tanya Tagaq tells her story with great intimacy. A powerful view into the life and spirituality of the Inuit people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • just asking for some common sense
  • 2019-01-21

A unique and moving book

This book is filled with difficulties and sadness, joy, mythical connections, and beauty. It is beautifully written and performed and includes many segments of throat singing for which the author is known. I understand that some of this is poetry in here as well as prose so someday I want to see a paper copy of it for the poetry segments.

I'm not sure this book is for everyone, but if you can make a connection to it then it is a worthy read or listen. I'm hoping that she will write more books. I would certainly be willing to go on that journey with her again. I give it a solid 5 stars all around.

The author is also a gifted artist. I'm in awe of her talent