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House of Anansi Press

The Break

Written by Katherena Vermette

Published September 17, 2016 | ISBN 9781487001124

Cover of The Break

Regular price $18.95 CAD

288 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

The Break

Katherena Vermette

Winner of the First Novel Award and a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award, The Break is a stunning and heartbreaking debut novel about a multigenerational Métis–Anishnaabe family dealing with the fallout of a shocking crime in Winnipeg’s North End.

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.

Awards and Praise
Fiction is capable of helping us to comprehend difference and otherness, and The Break offers clear insight ino people struggling to secure a place in the world.
  • Winner Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, 2017
  • Winner Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, 2017
  • Short-listed Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2016
  • Winner McNally Robinson Book of the Year, 2017
  • Short-listed Governor General's Literary Award, 2016
  • Winner First Novel Award, 2017
  • Short-listed Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Literature, 2017