The Break

The Break

Book - 2016
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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.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Anansi, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781487001117
Characteristics: 352 pages : genealogical table ; 21 cm


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TechLibrarian Aug 02, 2018

I've admired the cover of this book for some time, but only recently decided to give it a turn. I thought maybe I'd just read a few pages, but I was almost immediately pulled in by the writing, and the suspenseful intro--a woman reports a crime, only to be gaslighted by police and by her partner--an interesting twist on the usual "unreliable narrator" theme.

Jun 30, 2018

The first scene of this novel had me uneasy, being both heartbreaking and hard to process. With the struggles Stella has to face with taking care of her family and dealing with her upsetting past, the event which takes place outside of her home just adds more weight to her shoulders. My gut would not unclench and it got to a point where I had to stop reading the book for a while until I knew I was ready to continue. This novel deals with a variety of terrifying situations, even classify as every nightmare a mother has for her children. From rape to gang life, these indigenous females have to handle a lot of trouble all at the same time. It was surprising the way all these characters were connected, however it made things a little confusing. It was difficult to piece these sickening incidents together however once I did, it all clicked. The perspective change was very hard to follow for me, however, it never took away from the true meaning of this novel. I would warn others because The Break deals with a lot of heavy topics, and none are in a happy note. 4/5
- @booklover327 of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

VaughanPLDavidB Jun 27, 2018

I was reading this book for a book club I lead, otherwise I wouldn't have even considered it. I found myself rather indifferent until the point when the author described the assault that was the seminal event of the novel. At that point I was filled with real anger and completely hooked into the story. I did see something I'd never seen before in any novel I've ever read: a trigger warning on the title page. I have to say that I'm ambivalent about this. On the one hand, the described assault was truly enraging. But on the other hand, this is a novel for adults, with a level of violence no different from thousands of other novels. Regardless of whether or not you think trigger warnings are necessary in novels, this particular warning is useless as it does nothing to prepare readers for what they will encounter.

Jun 13, 2018


Apr 11, 2018

I loved this book. I just finished reading it for a second time and found it just as compelling. It is the characters and their strength that stand out as very very realistic. It is a part of Canada that is hard to read about, I am so removed from their world it is hard to imagine, but the author brings them to life. She helps you understand their world and recognize how strong their bonds are. I read Danny Wolfe, a Canadian Outlaw, first, it is a non fiction book. It is the story of 2 brothers also raised in the North End who went on to be famous criminals. Both books show a world that we need to recognize, even if we could never understand. I highly recommend both books.

Sep 06, 2017

Katherena Vermette is a talented story -teller.
The Break is an original , subtle tale following the lives of women who struggle
On the outside of hope, and how their reaction to one event is shaped by
Past choices.
No surprise that some are uncomfortable with the realities imbedded in this 'fiction'.

Aug 24, 2017

I would give this book ALL the stars! It's an amazingly strong and wise tale of several Metis women living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It's hard to know where to begin to describe the book without giving away too much information, but events take place and impact all these women in various ways. I could definitely see my sister's life mirrored in some respects, and hear her voice, too. This one is very highly recommended and I hope the author is working towards another one.

Aug 17, 2017

Working my way through this mess was almost a nightmare. While I wouldn't ordinarily write a review is such a manner, I see no way to respond to this book other than in the same language as the book itself. Simply put, this is about people who have dug themselves into a hole and are still busy digging. Vermette has chosen, presumably for the sake of realism, to present her characters as, in their own sad vernacular, totally fucked-up and busy becoming more fucked-up. There is some attempt at social commentary: an exploration of racial tensions; of jaded police who have long since given up on a populace that sees them as the enemy; of the injustice of women abandoned by men who cannot stomach family responsibility and a society and set of laws that fails to compel them to man up. But it's all just depressing.
In the end, I really didn't care what happened to any of these people.

Aug 09, 2017

I did not expect to love this book but after a choppy start, I could not put it down. A good book teaches and this book certainly qualifies. I was struck by many aspects but was most impressed with the role of Grandmother in the cultural upbringing of girls in the native community. It made me realize that by wrecking an entire generation of traditional grandmothers, the white settlers broke a chain that may never be repaired. It is a sad story from the many perspectives we encounter in this book, but also uplifting in the spirit and courage of strong women who are doing their best.
And the writing was wonderful. This author nailed the dialogue!

Jul 31, 2017

Set in Winnipeg’s North End, The Break begins with Stella, a young Métis mother, witnessing a violent attack outside her home and calling the police. What follows is a haunting story, from multiple perspectives, of the people connected to the victim, as we learn about the events leading up to the attack, and as friends and family grapple with the consequences and whys of the violence. Overall, this is a heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful story about strong women, whose relationship to each other helps them to cope and heal from the violent realities of their lives, and the healing power of family and tradition.

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Dec 21, 2016

Somehow the act of making food always feels like doing something when we are helpless to do anything else.


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