Split Tooth

Split Tooth

Book - 2018
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"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 of this." -- cover description.
Publisher: Canada : Viking, 2018
ISBN: 9780670070091
Branch Call Number: FIC TAGAQ 2018
Characteristics: 193 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Tagaq is a noted Inuk throat singer from Nunavut, Canada whose debut book fearlessly blends memoir, fiction, traditional stories, and poetry to create a haunting and unforgettable narrative of a girl growing up in Nunavut in the 1970s.

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Aug 14, 2020

This is a dark, brutal, and shocking book. What begins as a fictional memoir of abuse, drunken adults, and children in a perpetual quest for mischief soon begins to take on mythic qualities. At the same time it chronicles a mental breakdown, finally leading (with the tragic myth of Sedna as both a foreshadow and a guide) to an abominable act (along with an Arctic retelling of the legend of the selkies). The brutality is placed firmly at the feet of those colonizers whose religion should have told them to do the exact opposite. Fascinating writing, but not for the faint of heart.

Jan 12, 2020

Wow, that was quite a book. If I can suggest, check out Tanya Tagaq's "Retribution" on Youtube before you sit down to read this book. This will prepare you for what the book has to offer. The other thought I had, while reading the book (only took 2 days to read), was that I wished Ms. Tagaq was sitting beside me so she could interpret the story - sentence by sentence.

May 01, 2019

There is a deep or hilarious or delightful or appalling SURPRISE every few pages in this book. How many books can offer that? As I read, I quickly came to learn that very soon she will again blow my mind in some strange fresh way. This, expectation, fulfilled until the end, kept me reading.

TechLibrarian Jan 23, 2019

They say not to judge a book by its cover but in this case, with its crisp white cover and bright red pages, it is what it looks like it is--arresting, sharp, a little bit cold. I'm not sure how to describe the plot, and I'd suggest that readers try their best to suspend their judgement and expectations as they read. Tagaq includes poetry, illustrations, and prose to tell a story that transcends the physical and spiritual realms. Because of its partly ethereal, mythical nature, a lot of the interpretive labor falls to the reader. Please beware that there are some very difficult themes, including child abuse and sexual assault, that could be triggering for readers. Also, if you are big into a clear story line, this book isn't for you, but if you are down for some experimentation, all the feels, and a wholly new reading experience, then definitely don't miss Split Tooth!

SCL_Justin Jan 22, 2019

This story is about growing up in the arctic, a really rough environment that has beauty in it. The beauty in this book is the language and the vision, and the really rough part is almost everything that happens. There is sexual assault and violence towards children, but also connection. I would really like to listen to the audio version of this book, as I feel like the poet's voice would be a valuable dimension to add to the text.

Nov 23, 2018

I've seen this artist perform and have seen few with such cultural dance passion. As an literary artist, the intro is a statement about what is an artist that is quite fitting to what's to come. Others praise this artist's description blending traditional Inuit/North Indigenous spiritual stories with a modern world through the telling by a young girl who still has those spirit connections. But I did not like this book and didn't finish. Two of my friends were drawn in because of its unique poetry prose who did finish but both agreed. It might have been better if placed in a fictional northern community than a real one. If the tragic behavior of common abuse is indeed a true statement of how people view and accept what seems a matter of fact reality of the wide spread sexual, physical and psychological abuse covered in this story in Cambridge Bay, I can't say how sad this makes me. The spiritual visions from my perspective (and I've been taught a lot about Indigenous culture and cultural protocols and even used to do presentations to corporate people on these subjects), felt too much on the fringe of delusion and insanity rather than an insight. The casual acceptance of the abuse seemed too much. Only someone who lives in these northern communities can truly give us a proper critique on this story. If I can't wrap my head around some of the content, I'm sure the average southern or cosmopolitan reader will be completely mystified and confused with it. The art of the prose is certainly as artful as Tagaq's musical and dance performances. I'm just not sure about the story itself.

liljables Nov 01, 2018

This book is brutal, magical, beautiful, and grotesque. It offers a blend of poetry and prose, and it defies categorization - Tagaq offers up fiction, creative non-fiction, myth, and memoir. I don't know if I understood every word, but I gobbled them up regardless.

My next move will be to listen to the audiobook, which is narrated by the author and features her throat singing in between chapters.

Oct 16, 2018

As fierce and fabulous as its author.

debwalker Sep 17, 2018

Told through poetry, prose, memory and fiction, the story of growing up Inuit.
And on the longlist for the 2018 Giller Prize!


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