The Break

The Break

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
a--showcases Vermette's abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.
Publisher: Toronto :, House of Anansi Press,, 2016.
ISBN: 9781487001124
Characteristics: 1 online resource.

Related Resources


From Library Staff

Surrounding the events of a terrible assault, a circle of Indigenous women fight for survival and healing in the midst of racism and violence in Winnipeg's North End. Dark but ultimately hopeful, this intergenerational saga by Metis poet, film-maker and award-winning author Katharena Vermette is ... Read More »

This title is also available as an eBook.

List - Canada Book Week
Liesel_C Mar 27, 2018

A dark and gritty intergenerational family saga that highlightes the struggles of Indigenous women in contemporary society. Told from multiple viewpoints, the distressing content is handled with sensitivity and compassion.

Alexander Calhoun Library | Monday, January 8 | 7:00 p.m. Vermette's debut novel opens with a violent assault on the Break, a barren field on an isolated strip of land in Winnipeg's North End. Shifting perspectives build a complex history of four generations of an indigenous family. A powerful st... Read More »

The Break showcases Métis
writer Vermette’s abundant
literary talent and positions
her as an exciting new voice
in Canadian literature. This
visionary debut novel set in
Winnipeg’s North End opens with
a violent crime that becomes the
backdrop for a story of depth
and compassion.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 13, 2018


Apr 11, 2018

I loved this book. I just finished reading it for a second time and found it just as compelling. It is the characters and their strength that stand out as very very realistic. It is a part of Canada that is hard to read about, I am so removed from their world it is hard to imagine, but the author brings them to life. She helps you understand their world and recognize how strong their bonds are. I read Danny Wolfe, a Canadian Outlaw, first, it is a non fiction book. It is the story of 2 brothers also raised in the North End who went on to be famous criminals. Both books show a world that we need to recognize, even if we could never understand. I highly recommend both books.

Sep 06, 2017

Katherena Vermette is a talented story -teller.
The Break is an original , subtle tale following the lives of women who struggle
On the outside of hope, and how their reaction to one event is shaped by
Past choices.
No surprise that some are uncomfortable with the realities imbedded in this 'fiction'.

Aug 24, 2017

I would give this book ALL the stars! It's an amazingly strong and wise tale of several Metis women living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It's hard to know where to begin to describe the book without giving away too much information, but events take place and impact all these women in various ways. I could definitely see my sister's life mirrored in some respects, and hear her voice, too. This one is very highly recommended and I hope the author is working towards another one.

Aug 17, 2017

Working my way through this mess was almost a nightmare. While I wouldn't ordinarily write a review is such a manner, I see no way to respond to this book other than in the same language as the book itself. Simply put, this is about people who have dug themselves into a hole and are still busy digging. Vermette has chosen, presumably for the sake of realism, to present her characters as, in their own sad vernacular, totally fucked-up and busy becoming more fucked-up. There is some attempt at social commentary: an exploration of racial tensions; of jaded police who have long since given up on a populace that sees them as the enemy; of the injustice of women abandoned by men who cannot stomach family responsibility and a society and set of laws that fails to compel them to man up. But it's all just depressing.
In the end, I really didn't care what happened to any of these people.

Aug 09, 2017

I did not expect to love this book but after a choppy start, I could not put it down. A good book teaches and this book certainly qualifies. I was struck by many aspects but was most impressed with the role of Grandmother in the cultural upbringing of girls in the native community. It made me realize that by wrecking an entire generation of traditional grandmothers, the white settlers broke a chain that may never be repaired. It is a sad story from the many perspectives we encounter in this book, but also uplifting in the spirit and courage of strong women who are doing their best.
And the writing was wonderful. This author nailed the dialogue!

Jul 31, 2017

Set in Winnipeg’s North End, The Break begins with Stella, a young Métis mother, witnessing a violent attack outside her home and calling the police. What follows is a haunting story, from multiple perspectives, of the people connected to the victim, as we learn about the events leading up to the attack, and as friends and family grapple with the consequences and whys of the violence. Overall, this is a heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful story about strong women, whose relationship to each other helps them to cope and heal from the violent realities of their lives, and the healing power of family and tradition.

Jun 29, 2017

Read the whole review here

This book has been getting a lot of press and with good reason, but unfortunately, I’m the type of person who sees something draped with accolades and thinks it can’t be that good.

Katherena Vermette’s debut novel The Break is good; there’s no doubt about it. Vermette’s background is in poetry and it comes through in the beautiful ways she constructs her sentences. She’s been praised for her ability to pace plot and develop character. She’s being congratulated for speaking about racism in society.

May 16, 2017

The Break, did not hold my attention. I've read several books with the theme First Nations women. The stories are all similar with different women taking the lead into violence, running away, sex, bad language and abuse.

Seems to be to be a common theme, none end far as I know. I seldom make it to the end.

Apr 28, 2017

Poorly written, reminded me of a grade school reader. I would recommend this book to preteen girls, except the profanities, drugs, sex, violence and poor role models make it entirely inappropriate. PS: I grew up in Winnipeg and am familiar with the North End.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

Dec 21, 2016

Somehow the act of making food always feels like doing something when we are helpless to do anything else.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top