The BreakKatherena Vermette
6 July 2017
Published by Atlantic Books
Stella, a young Métis mother, lives with her family by the Break, an isolated strip of land on the edge of their small Canadian town. Glancing out of her window one winter’s evening Stella spots someone in trouble; horrified, she calls the police. But when they arrive, no one is there, scuff marks in the compacted snow the only sign anything may have happened.
What follows is a heartbreaking and powerful tale of a community in crisis as the people connected to the victim, a young girl on the edge of a precipice, begin to lay bare their stories leading up to that fateful night. From Lou, a social worker grappling with the end of a relationship, to Cheryl, an artist mourning the premature death of her sister. And from Phoenix, a homeless teenager released from a youth detention centre with no one to turn to, to Officer Scott, a Métis policeman caught between two worlds.
Through the prism of one extended, intergenerational family, Vermette’s urgent story shines a light on the power, violence and love shared between women of all cultures, creeds and ages.
Katherena Vermette's debut novel, The Break, takes a tough, close-up look at an extended family in Winnipeg, tackling along the way a side of female life that's often hard to acknowledge: the violence girls and women sometimes display towards other girls and women, and the power struggles among them. In The Break, the characters may be Métis, but the motivations and emotions are surely universal. This is an accomplished writer who will go far.Margaret Atwood
Katherena Vermette is a tremendously gifted writer, a dazzling talent... The lives of the girls and women in The Break are not easy, but their voices are complex, urgent, and unsparing. Vermette lays bare what it means to survive, not only once, but multiple times, against the forces of private and national histories.Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
Vermette is a staggering talent. Reading The Break is like a revelation; stunning, heartbreaking and glorious. From her exquisitely rendered characters to her fully realized world and the ratcheting tension, I couldn't put it down. Absolutely riveting.Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach
The Break is... a beautiful love song of desire to live a full and rich life as cherished women ? even when we cannot have that... Vermette captures the reader from beginning to end. The Break is unforgettable.Lee Maracle, author of Celia’s Song
The Break is a powerful, persuasive novel about the strength and love that bind these women to each other and to the men in their lives... Although this is a novel of social importance, it transcends politics, taking the reader on a journey to the heart of what it means for one person to care about another, survive trauma, and endure.2016 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury