Our Marketing Manager Cass has been reading a debut novel this month, the international bestsellerThe Break.
I was interested in discovering more First Nations stories when I stumbled across The Break. The author Katherena Vermette is a First Nations Canadian writer, and her debut novel is urgent and unapologetic.
The family saga follows a group of women and girls who have faced generations of hardship and abuse, brought back together following the witnessing of a violent act in the middle of winter.
The relationship between mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, and communities are tested again and again, painting a detailed picture of the consequences of intergenerational trauma.
The novel finds itself in unique territory shining a light on the physical violence girls commit against other girls, and although there are scenes that are explicit and painful to read, actions and characters are repeatedly contextualised in a well-realised multi-character narration.
With ten different characters telling their stories – some alive, some dead, some old, some young, and one male voice of the Métis police offer investigating the crime – it can be a lot to follow, and the family tree at the beginning of the book proved repeatedly useful as the stories and histories took shape.
The Break is powerful, hopeful, gritty, and memorable. It’s early days, but I think it will be a 2018 highlight for me.
Content warning: Contains high-level sexual violence and references to drug use.