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  • Split Tooth

  • Written by: Tanya Tagaq
  • Narrated by: Tanya Tagaq
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (281 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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)

Featured Article: Finding the Canadian Voice That Speaks To You

The Canadian voice is a powerful, distinct and rich one. From the First Nations and those that have lived in Canada for generations to new immigrants, the tapestry that makes up Canada from Nova Scotia, to Toronto, Winnipeg to Vancouver and every city in between is a colourful combination of people, voices and stories. Whether you’re searching for a relatable experience or seeking to hear a new perspective of this country we love, we’ve compiled a list of 10 amazing audiobooks by Canadian authors to help you find the voice that speaks to you.

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What listeners say about Split Tooth

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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.

11 people found this helpful

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breathtaking

I dont think I have the words the describe how amazing this book is. the imagery created with her words genuinely created a picture in my mind. her story telling is absolutely breathtaking. the purchase on audible was made even more stunning as every chapter is ended with a bit of the authors throat singing. this is pure magic and left me wanting more

6 people found this helpful

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Beautifully uncomfortable

Tanya Tagaq had me from the first line, her strange tale is completely brought to life by her performance. She takes you to an uncomfortable place with her and keeps you there through her passionate story telling punctuated by throat singing, her pros become poetic. Maybe this review sounds more pretentious than it needs to, I just liked the book a lot!

3 people found this helpful

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Only for Slam poetry fans

Couldn't really finish it. It's poetry. No logic at all. Just not my cup of tea.

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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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Beautiful and stimulating storytelling

Unlike anything I've ever read. Tagaq's reading performance beautifully animates her verse and prose.

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Raw, revelatory beauty

A wonderfully crafted immersion into a life lived in the realm of the magnetic north. Read by the author, we are treated to her native tongue at intervals which punctuate the narrative in a way only she could. A feast for the ears and spirit. Loved it.

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Incredible! Powerful!

It's difficult for me to describe this book. I don't know much about the Inuit culture and so I'm sure there are things I missed but I found it interesting, emotional at times and very funny in places too! Tanya Tagaq's performance was simply outstanding!!

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What a rare glimpse into Inuit Life

While dark and bizarre, Tagaq lead me into a mystical arctic world. I’ve never heard throat singing like this and it worked so well with the poetry. I feel grateful and changed from this immersion.

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Haunting and powerful

A story of abuse and spiritual renewal, Tagaq’s vocal rendition of her novel is otherworldly.

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle L. Scaturro
  • 2019-05-26

astounding

an amazing story full of truth and love and delivered with fiery passion. a must read for anyone who believes in the power of love and the kinship we all have with nature. the author narrates the story, which is the reason I wanted it in audio form. she infuses her throat singing at many intervals throughout which only enhances the wonderful listening experience. was a wonderful book and will be among my favorites forever more. thank you.

4 people found this helpful

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  • vera
  • 2019-02-24

Magic?

How many worlds existed in and around this main character?
How do you live “in” and react to a world of magic and yet one so free of safeguards and even ability to expect things to work out? I was engrossed by it all.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Troy
  • 2021-01-10

Absolutely enchanting

Beautiful written, perfectly told. Spectacular traditional throat singing which set the stage and carried me far north and away where dream and reality mix into an exquisite story. I finished feeling humbled and honored to have shared in something sacred and profound. Thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bill M
  • 2022-01-06

Unique

Rare that a writer can create their own genre but shes done it. Flowing from poem to fiction to non fiction to fantasy is unique to Tanya.

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  • Jessica Black
  • 2020-10-01

Must read

As an indigenous womxn this book touched my very soul. There are no words that could ever fully describe it and give it justice. You must just read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Montse
  • 2019-06-28

Unusual, poetic and spiritual

A true song to nature and to what could have been Tagaq's spiritual life. Wild and moving, shocking and soothing. An unusual, emotional roller coaster.

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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.

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  • Sennabullet
  • 2022-06-18

Primal and Beautiful

I don't know how this audiobook ended up in my library. I am never good at finding new titles. But am I ever glad that I found this gem.

The lyrical prose delivered by the author is intoxicating and magical. The scenery and experiences she describes is vivid and visceral. I found myself not an observer of the story but a participant of it through her spirit.

There are stories meant to entertain and others that are didactic. Split Tooth open us up to a world most of us never get to experience or understand. I enjoyed every moment of it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2022-02-19

Unforgettable

This book is absolutely stunning as an audiobook—the performance, particularly Tagaq’s amazing throat-singing interludes, produce an experience that is visceral, deeply disturbing, and transcendent. The imagery and story-telling are truly like nothing else I’ve ever read, which made it both so refreshing and unsettling.