Our first book club pick is Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq.
Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.
A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents’ love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.
When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this.
Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains.
Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget.
How to Participate:
Step 1: get the book from your local library, bookseller, or seek an audio version online
Step 2: READ or LISTEN
Step 3: Post comments and questions on Twitter @book_women or @IndigenousLSA or directly on the Book Women Podcast website. We will discuss them during that book’s episode!
The first episode will be published on February 9th, so get your comments in BEFORE February 6th. (Hint: we’ll be giving away a FREE copy of the book to someone who comments!)
Readers should know that Split Tooth is a work of staggering beauty and originality that also engages with extremely challenging subjects, including childhood sexual abuse.
Please take care of yourself as you are reading this book.
If at any point, you find yourself triggered, consider visiting these resources:
- Mental Health Helpline – 1-877-303-2642
- Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence via the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Service: Call or Text: 1-866-403-8000 Online chat is available on their website
- Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC): Sexual Violence Help Line Call: 1-866-956-1099 Text: 403-986-4357 Webchat: www.casasc.ca
- Alberta Mental Health Services: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/page16759.aspx
- Sexual Violence Handbook: https://www.sace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Sexual-Violence-Handbook-2020-Updated-Version.pdf
1 thought on “Our First Book Club Pick: SPLIT TOOTH”
I know I’m late – didn’t discover this page til today. I do want to say, though – this book was very moving and transformative for me. I listened to it as I was driving through Central Yukon and at night in my tent on the Stewart River when I was working there for awhile. Sometimes I laughed, or shivered, or cried. As someone who has experienced many kinds of violence, I feel like Tanya did a really good job at expressing the myriad feelings and experiences attached to that experience – anger, fear, sadness, longing, attraction, shame, dissociation. The out-of-body experiences that the narrator has are truly beautiful and terrifying. I think part of it is allegory, but part of it is just also a young woman trying to cope with her reality (violence, hopelessness) by transforming it into something otherworldy in her mind. Just my two cents. Looking forward to listening to the podcast.