Katherena Vermette, author of The Break, is the winner of the 2017 Amazon.ca First Novel Award! The #AmazonFNA is a $40,000 annual award that celebrates the best debut Canadian novels written in English.
“What a pleasure it is to award the 2017 Amazon First Novel Award to such an arresting and important piece of writing! The jury noted that The Break is a book in which the author funnels an epic vision—including the varied and sometimes difficult histories of a city, a people, and a family—through the lens of violence. The women of the Charles/Traverse family are fierce and tender; the ways that they care for each other will stay with you long after you finish reading the book. Katherena Vermette has combined lyricism with the suspense of narrative action to make a compulsively readable novel about conflict and the resilient Métis women who move through it and forward into the world.”
—Tanis MacDonald, Head Judge, Amazon.ca First Novel Award
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 intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.