House of Anansi Press

The Break

Written by Katherena Vermette

Published September 17, 2016 | ISBN 9781487001124
FICTION / Literary

Cover of The Break

Regular price $18.95 CAD

288 pages | 8.00 in × 5.25 in
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

The Break

Katherena Vermette

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.

Awards and Praise
The Break manages to be political even when it isn’t. It’s a book that explores social issues without ever preaching, or even seeming to be about them at all. It examines the only element of those issues that matter: their human impact. It’s astonishing in its empathy... She doesn’t pull her punches or dress up her truths. The Break leaves it all bare, and it demands to be read.
  • Short-listed Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2016
  • Short-listed Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Literature, 2017
  • Winner McNally Robinson Book of the Year, 2017
  • Winner Amazon.ca First Novel Award, 2017
  • Winner Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, 2017
  • Short-listed Governor General's Literary Award, 2016
  • Winner Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, 2017