The Break Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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
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.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 21 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||December 28 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,324 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#12 in Native American Literature (Books)
#16 in World Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#59 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in Canada on August 30, 2021
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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.
Anyway, the bright spot in this novel was the strength of the characters, especially the women; how they supported each other; the close bonds of family (I loved it that after Emily was hurt, so many people showed up to sit around her hospital bed for days, just radiating their healing thoughts toward her and each other); and the way some of them would escape to “the bush” (read Mother Nature) when urban civilization got too much for them.
I’m deducting one star only because it was difficult to keep all the characters straight, and trying to figure out who was telling the story detracted from my reading enjoyment…not enjoyment, because it wasn’t exactly an enjoyable read…but rather my focus.
This story is about a group of women in the same family who band together to cope with the violence, sexism and racism that are part of their everyday life. In a world that appears to be hopeless, these women support each other in such a loving, caring and nurturing way that one feels that there is always hope.
Vermette's technique of shifting the narrative between all of the players is an excellent way of developing an all encompassing perspective on what happened and why. Read this book for sure but be prepared for a gut wrenching story that you will never forget.
By sk on August 30, 2021
Where were all the male characters? How does colonialization have a different impact on men vs women?
How is the centrality community and family driving the plot?
How does the author show us the effects of trauma through the generations?
How does each character demonstrate connection to place, be it urban or bush?
How does this author so deftly convey feeling of place and moment?
How have our impressions of intra-community violence changed as a result of the book?
Why do we feel empathy for the least empathetic characters in the story?
Was the map of characters necessary? How did you use it and what did it reveal?