The Break by Katherena Vermette

Title: The Break
Author: Katherena Vermette

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

The BreakI hope this book wins Canada Reads 2017. There you go. Out of all of the 6 or 7 longlist and shortlisted books I’ve read so far, this one stands way ahead of the rest in my opinion.

The book starts with Stella, a mother who hears and sees a terrible attack outside her house. With her baby and young daughter in the house, she can’t really run outside to help, so she calls the police. From there, the story slowly and delightfully unravels, with each chapter told from the perspective of a different woman from four generations in the same family.

I absolutely think this is the one book that all of Canada needs to read right now. A couple of months ago, my bookclub read The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew, and I was surprised and dismayed to hear people talking about how they had never learned anything about the indigenous people of Canada in school. I found that very surprising because the Australian Aboriginal culture and history was part of our curriculum throughout primary and high school for us. So, considering that most Canadians haven’t really had a chance to learn about this, I think Vermette’s book would be the best choice for Canada Reads 2017.

Katherena Vermette’s first novel is dark and it left me feeling a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, I felt frustrated and mad that these women even have to go through all of this. Stella is easily dismissed by the police, even though she knows she saw something terrible happen out there. Phoenix is a victim of neglect and abuse that has left her tough and angry. But on the other hand, the powerful bonds between the main characters in the story left me feeling some hope.

I think this novel is an onion in more ways than one. You have the many layers of plot and characters to unravel and savour. But at the same time, I think there are so many different things that different people can take away from the book.

I can’t wait to see what Candy Palmater has to say about this book. And I think The Break should win Canada Reads.

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