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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 (183 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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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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    3 out of 5 stars

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. Absolutely amazing.

Compelling story of stories, each one beautifully interwoven with the others. heartbreaking and devastating, heartening and restorative. The narration added so much richness.

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Lingering

One of the best books i've come across in awhile. It explores social issues, and human issues, it's devastating and heart warming and beautiful and poignant and sad.

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Entranced by this work

This story is woven from many perspectives of those hurt souls that come together in a way that I wish did not imitate reality. One moment that particularly arrested me was Stella's recount of the incident at the center of the book; I got angry with her inaction, even yelling at my car stereo but a couple chapters later I understood that it can be very hard for those who have been hurt to render help to others.
Narrator Micheala Washburn did an incredible job with the performance, accents and keeping the characters straight. Kudos

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A heartbreaking and beautiful story 😢❤️

I loved this book and couldn’t stop listening. The depth of the characters and their relationships with each other told so much about overcoming tragedy and the triumph of the human spirit.

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Review by me

Really amazing how it ties together. This book will be hard for some people.

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A Real Gem

I was thoroughly engrossed in this book. I liked the way it took the characters and told of the story from their perspective, it worked very well. I found the story to be sad but with hope and happiness there too,

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Must read/listen for Canadians & other humans

Raw and real, Ms. Vermettes words swept me into the lives of the family and held me in their passion and strength until the end. So many layers of truth and wisdom are interwoven, so much honesty in the characters, so real and alive I have images in my mind of each personality introduced as If I have known them a long time. The author dares to shake societal assumptions with twists and turns that lay bare the bones and flesh of our true humanity in Canadian society. The imprints of trauma and the fierce love that tries so hard to make space for healing, even if it takes generations, are heart wrenchingly portrayed in this novel of strength, resilience and family.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.