The Break

by Katherena Vermette

Recommended by Angie Abdou

The Break has been recommended by our guest reader Angie Abdou, with whom you will explore the novel and the issue of the pressing need to ensure the human rights of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people are respected, protected, and upheld in Canada and around the world.

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 inter-generational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.

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Angie Abdou is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University. Her first novel, The Bone Cage, was a finalist for Canada Reads 2011. Her most recent novel, In Case I Go (2017), was a finalist for the 2017 Banff Mountain Book Award in the fiction and poetry category. Vancouver Sun called it “a spectacularly successful novel” and Chatelaine Magazine named it one of 2017’s most riveting mystery novels. Angie’s seventh book and first nonfiction, Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, will be released in September.

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