Winner of the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award, The Break is a stunning and heartbreaking debut novel about a multigenerational M tis-Anishnaabe family dealing with the fallout of a shocking crime in Winnipeg's North End.
When Stella, a young M tis 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 M tis 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.