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ORANGE - Penguin Canada

The Circle
By (author): katherena vermette
katherena vermette


Hamish Hamilton



Product Form:



General / adult
Sep 05, 2023
$32.00 CAD


9.27in x 6.23 x 0.97 in | 1.04 lb

Page Count:

272 pages
Penguin Canada
Hamish Hamilton
FICTION / Indigenous
From the award-winning and #1 bestselling author of The Break and The Strangers comes a poignant and unwavering epic told from a constellation of Métis voices that consider the fallout when the person who connects them all goes missing.

The concept was simple. You sit a bunch of people in a circle—everyone who hurt, everyone who got hurt, all affected—and let them share. Some people, it helped them heal, for sure. Others went in angry and left a different kind of angry. Learned how the blame belonged on the system, the history, the colonizer, the big things that were harder to change than one bad person.

The day that Cedar Sage Stranger has been both dreading and longing for has finally come: her sister Phoenix is getting out of prison.

The effect of Phoenix’s release cascades through the community. M, the young girl whom she assaulted, is triggered by the news. M’s mother, Paulina, is worried and her cousin, Jake, is angry—all feel the threat of Phoenix’s release. Cedar and her mother, Elsie, continue down different paths of healing. When Phoenix is seen lingering outside the school to catch a glimpse of her son, Sparrow, the police get a call to file a report—but the next thing they know, she disappears.

Amid accusations and plots for revenge, past grievances become a poor guide in a moment of danger, and the short-sighted armature of law enforcement is no match for the community. Told from various perspectives, with an unforgettable voice for each chapter, the novel masterfully parallels a Restorative Justice Circle where all gather—both the victimized and the accused—to take account of a crime that has altered the course of their lives.

Fierce, heartbreaking, and profound, vermette’s The Circle is the third and final companion novel to her bestsellers The Break and The Strangers. It considers what it means to be abandoned by the very systems that claim to offer support, how it feels to gain a sense of belonging, and the unanticipated cost of protecting those you love most.

Story Locale: Winnipeg’s North End

    AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: The Strangers won the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction, was shortlisted for the 2022 First Nation Communities Read Award, the 2022 Manitoba Book Awards’ Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction; and was longlisted for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

    HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FINALE: The Strangers was Indigo’s #1 book of the year for 2021, a Globe and Mail book of the year, and a finalist for the McNally Robinson book of the year. This third and final instalment in the Strangers saga is hotly anticipated.

    TV SERIES BUZZ: Cineflix was quick to snap up the film and television rights for The Break, and with that six-part miniseries in development there will be buzz around the imaginative literature that originally inspired the show.

    TIMELY CANADIAN CONTENT: The Circle acknowledges and demonstrates the failings of Canadian social structures and the discrimination that Indigenous communities regularly face.

    GLEAMING PROSE: vermette’s writing has been praised to the skies by critics and juries alike. The Strangers was deemed “a beautiful, raw testament to those living on the margins” by the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Prize Jury and “a potent, audacious intergenerational saga” by The Globe and Mail.

katherena vermette (she/her) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. vermette received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs. Her first novel, The Break, won several awards including the Amazon First Novel Award, and was a bestseller in Canada. Her second novel, The Strangers, won the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, named Indigo’s 2021 Book of the Year, and was a #1 national bestseller. Her work in children’s literature includes the graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo. vermette lives with her family in a cranky old house within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River.

Author Hometown: Winnipeg, MB


Praise for The Circle:

“Like Orange’s There There, The Circle is a polyphonic masterpiece. Brutal at turns, and tender at others, it’s about the tremendous impact one person can have on an entire community.” 
—Erika T. Wurth, author of White Horse

“Like its sisters in this trilogy, every page of The Circle is a steady and rhythmic observation of our humanity as Indigenous people. It asks what restitution and justice could possibly feel like when we, as Indigenous people, are all subjects of this unjust empire called Canada. This book is truth in all her fluid forms. It is an altar of love, hope, and grief amidst the relentless torment of settler colonialism. Katherena Vermette, in her distinctly elegant style, offers a glimpse into the devastating beauty of our people and our capacity to keep moving forward, one foot at a time, guided by the love and strength of our ancestors. It reminds us that, in the end, all that’s left is the stories we carry with the people we loved.”
—Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, filmmaker and actor

“A perfect companion to The Break and The Strangers, Katherena Vermette’s The Circle draws us back into the lives of characters who we’ve come to know so intimately that their heartache is our heartache. With each new perspective as distinct and vivid as the last, The Circle acts as an unsettling reminder that the systems designed to help the most vulnerable too often end up betraying them. This is a stellar finale with an ending that will leave you both heartbroken and hopeful.”
—Amanda Peters, author of The Berry Pickers

“What a gift we have been given. The Circle is a window into the lives of unforgettable characters, families, and community. The nuances, the crescendos, thrum like a heartbeat that hurts and heals, bends and breaks, that mends, always with care through prose that is as beautiful as it is raw and unflinching. Vermette has written a masterful work, one that challenges us with an intricate structure, as the circle forms and finally connects. If this is the end of the story, the gift we have is to hold these characters, and live with them long after the last page has been turned.” 
—David A. Robertson, author of The Theory of Crows

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