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The Break

Written by: Katherena Vermette
Narrated by: Michaela Washburn
Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (218 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2017 Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Literature Finalist
Winner, Amazon.ca First Novel Award
Winner, Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
Winner, Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award
Winner, McNally Robinson Book of the Year
A Canada Reads 2017 finalist
National Bestseller
2016 Governor General's Literary Award Finalist
2016 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist
National Post 99 Best Books of the Year
CBC Best Canadian Debut Novels 2016
Globe and Mail Best 100 Books of 2016
Quill & Quire Book of the Year
Kobo Best Books of the Year
Walrus Magazine The Best Books of 2016
49th Shelf Books of the Year

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break - a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house - she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim - police, family, and friends - tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Métis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg's North End is exposed.

A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette's abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.

©2016 Katherena Vermette (P)2017 Anansi Audio

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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

Every Canadian must read

This is a book that will break your heart and mend it over and over again. It shouldn't be avoided for fear of the tragedy in it, but embraced and experienced for the necessity of the perspective and truth in it. It is as devastating and difficult as it is and compassionate, gentle and soothing. Every Canadian should read this authentically and lovingly told story.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dark, confusing and slow

I have read books about aboriginal people, books like "red prophet 1988". In this book, I could not understand why everyone was so secretive, dark and hopeless. There were so many people in the story, with close enough names, that most of the time I tried to figure out who was who. I am sorry, but I don't recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful story of sisterhood

Sad but beautiful story of several generations of women who hold one another up through some terrible experiences. The narration is amazing and really brought the characters to life. Only con is that story is perhaps a little bit slow-moving.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

Beautiful and insightful story telling. This book will have you thinking about all relations. Best novel ive read all year

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Wow!

Such a talented and courageous writer, and the narrator was perfect from start to finish.

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All My Relations

This books worked on many levels. I was particularly moved by the supportive relationships
among the women - multigenerational and inspiring. The book provides many good lessons
about compassion, unconditional love -- sometimes it's just a cup of tea at the right time
and a listening ear. Appreciated this book. I learned a lot.

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breath deeply before you let go

An incredible story, that could be told in any town, as long as its winter.

Miigwech to the writer and narrator for your shared story. I felt for every character, even the ones I didn't want to feel for.

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A great read

Really enjoyed this book, as painful as it is, there are so many truths spoken.

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Excellent!

I bought this book on a whim but it ended up being an excellent book as it was written and performed very well.

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Enthralling

The narrator does a beautiful job of catching the characters' different voices. I picked up a print version after listening to the audiobook in a couple of days, but I have not read it yet, and fear it could not be as good as the audiobook. The performance was gripping, dramatic, engaging, and suspenseful. Each character's voice is single, distinct, and memorable. The story has an episode of horrifying violence at its core. One of the puzzles in a first experiencing of the novel is the weird way that violence almost risks being contained too easily -- part of the novelist's brilliance is to take you inside the mind of the perpetrator. Tastes differ, but I found the performance entirely engaging.

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  • Katherine
  • 2018-01-25

beautiful, loving, spiritual, storytelling

I loved this book! The narrator was amazing in capturing so many different characters. Beautiful story that I will not forget

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karen
  • 2019-11-25

a wonderful novel!

This is a brilliant story, artfully told, about a community of Indigenous women. Listen to it. Then read it. You won't be sorry.

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  • Kristie
  • 2019-01-05

Required reading

This is a book that should be read by all Canadians. Beautifully written, this book provided a life altering perspective to a middle class white girl, who grew up on the other side of the tracks, somehow oblivious to the challenges facing so many people.