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Split Tooth

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,815 ratings  ·  468 reviews
From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you've ever read.

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
Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Viking
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Danielle Buie No literal father; the pregnancy and the twins referenced in "Split Tooth" are metaphor, to my understanding. Tanya seems to be weaving many nods to…moreNo literal father; the pregnancy and the twins referenced in "Split Tooth" are metaphor, to my understanding. Tanya seems to be weaving many nods to Inuit mythology in with her autobiographical elements. I can't say for sure, but I believe this is one of those instances - specifically, I think the twins storyline may have been inspired at least in part by the mythology of Inuit goddess, Sedna. (less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,815 ratings  ·  468 reviews

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Lala BooksandLala
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tanya Tagaq is just such a goddamn gem. And I don't know what to even say about this book of hers.

I feel like I didn't "understand" half of this book, because so much of it is written in lyrical poetry and I've never been one to digest poetry well. But I also feel like my mind just sucked everything right up and I somehow, naturally, just get it.

I feel like I didn't enjoy reading this in the usual sense, but at the same time I'm grateful for having done so.

This book is powerful. It's strange.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read, canada
While listening to this audiobook, I was reminded of Björk, and then I found out that Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq has actually worked with her on Medúlla and the Vespertine World Tour. That said, you can obviously expect something unconventional and genre-defying when picking up Tagaq's debut as a writer - and while "Split Tooth" was longlisted for the Giller Prize which is awarded to Canadian novels or short story collections, you could also perceive this book as a fictionalized memoir or as ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book defies categorization, being unlike anything I have ever read. This is visceral storytelling. It has been long listed for the Giller Prize. The author, Tanya Tagaq, is an award winning Inuit throat singer. If you are unfamiliar with her strange, unworldly music, I urge you to visit YouTube. There are videos of her performing, and most interestingly a video where she describes and demonstrates how she makes the various sounds in her music.

Here she paints word pictures ranging from the
Leah Grantham
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truth be told, I don't care for about half of the Indigenous fiction or poetry that gets taken up by CanLit. It's often overly cloying, or tragedy porn, or written with a white audience in mind, or sometimes it's just not my cup of tea. Split Tooth though, is none of these. Split Tooth is a brutal, unflinching, magical, beautiful, grounded beauty of a book. It belongs on the shelves of anyone who likes Chrystos or Eden Robinson or other authors who know how to (paraphrasing the book here) put ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Split Tooth, Tanya Tagaq blasts through boundaries between the natural and the supernatural, reality and fantasy, the present and the past, and humans and other animals. Split Tooth alternates between prose and poetry, and Tagaq’s language is spare and lovely. Tagaq tells a liminal yet linear story of a teen Inuk girl in a small village in far north Nunavut, where both adults and teens seek escape in alcohol and substance abuse: ”It’s a Bring Your Own Solvents party and I want to let the ...more
A Terrible Beauty

(Another reviewer mentioned this book should contain a trigger warning for sexual abuse. I concur.)

Should I put down my initial reactions to this book now I've just finished listening to it? Or should I take time to digest it a little so I can be sure not to say anything off colour? Most people seem to agree this book is brilliant. I suppose it is. It's raw. It's brutal. It speaks of the natural world in a beautiful way. It also speaks of the natural world as seen from the
Jacob Kolody
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This novel was filled to the brim with beautiful imagery and poetic prose, but in trying to present everything as beautifully as Tanya Tagaq did, all sense of a narrative was lost. When I finally closed this book, I realized I had been transfixed by these 180 pages and ended up not understanding a single thing that happened. This novel was magical in the way a magician plucking a rose out of thin air is. The rose is exciting and beautiful but once the trick is done and you’re left holding the ...more
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Did 90% of this on audio and there was no possible way I could bring myself to endure the remainder. Tagaq’s breathy, incantatory audio narration works so powerfully for the incantational pieces here and there, and the throat singing was to die for, but she never ever varies that tone and it drove me up the effing wall listening to the most prosaic details of these stories told to me as if they were shamanic prayers. I am done.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, can-con, indigenous
Ice in lung
Ice in Wind
Life unsung
Milk Death
Split tooth
Sorrow marrow
Whispered truth

On her website, one can see the awesome artistic range that Tanya Tagaq displays – from “Punk Inuit Throat Singer” to painter – and in a further expression of her art, she has now released her fiction debut, Split Tooth. Self-taught at writing as she was at singing, this book is apparently based on journals that Tagaq kept over the years; journals in which she would write poems, ideas, memories, and short
David J
Reading Tanya Tagaq’s Split Tooth is difficult to describe. Tagaq uses prose, poetry, and illustration to tell the story of a girl traversing adolescence in the mostly insulary Nunavut, a northern Canadian territory, in the 1970s. Tagaq blurs the lines of reality with Inuit mythology, vivid dreams, and dangerous magic. We see the delicate beauty and tragic harshness of this girl’s coming of age. And while this gives Tagaq a chance to stretch her creative legs, it also left me a bit confused most ...more
In 2001, I first saw Inuit art – I mean real and in person. And, I fell in love with it. It was telling a story, even though I might not know what that story was, but it was still telling a story. So, I started to read up on the culture. I developed a taste for Inuit throat singing. Eventually, I heard about Tanya Tagaq, when she won the Polaris award. I got the album. “Uja” is one my all-time favorite pieces of music. When I found out that Tagaq had a book coming out, I had to pre order it.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit
Exactly what one should expect from a piece of Tanya Tagaq's work: a biting and poetic transportation into a new dimension... into a world familiar to few, but accessible to all through Tagaq's harshly honest ode to a girl's life in the North.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an intriguing, interesting and heartbreaking book. This book stand on its own. The writing is brilliant. I have never read anything like it. It defies genre. Is this a journal? A memoir? Poetry? Fantasy? Fiction, non-fiction. It is for sure a drama. Sexual abuse, drugs, alcohol. But there is also something magical, a transportation to a new dimension. I’m sure that this book will not please everyone but I loved it and I would like to try the audiobook (never my choice) narrated by the ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t feel equipped to review this book.
It is visceral, stunning, haunting, so much I can’t explain but you should read it for yourself. I’m not fully convinced I did read it, it feels as though the Northern Lights may have come down from the sky to fill my being and leave me with the memories of the book instead, floating loosely beside me like a confused yet meaningful reminder of a dream I once had that I couldn’t quite hold on to.

Tanya Tagaq is a visionary. I loved the book but it
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Somewhere between The White Book and Freshwater, a way of looking at birth and death and coming of age through the natural world and through myth. Hard to rate. Some moments of beauty (more than I got out of The White Book) but not much of a coherent story (unlike Freshwater) but a good companion read to both.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF half way through.

This book was just not for me. The writing was very lyrical and poetic however, poetry is one of the few genres that I can never seem to get into. Some of the writing was beautiful to me at times but I often didn't really know what was going on; I found the overall book very disordered and random. It was also very disturbing to me a lot of the time. Disturbing in itself doesn't usually bother me as I do like to read books with very difficult subject matter but for some
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was such a beautiful and raw novel, with its gorgeous prose describing the ugliness of several situations, the fear, joy and love, too. I loved the way the spirit world coexists with the harsh reality of the main character's life in this town. I totally loved the author's word choices, which were wonderfully apparent in the audiobook, and all the images she evoked with her visceral writing.
chantel nouseforaname
Beautiful. Like insanely so. I don't even know what to reads like part coming-of-age tale, part-poetic masterpiece, part fantastical, stream of consciousness sort-of purge. Her writing is super sharp; much like her music. Razor sharp and kind of awe-inducing.

Tagaq is coming for your neck with this book. There was some light playful elements and memories highlighting a life of childhood squabbles and things experienced much too young.. and there are horrorific elements highlighting the
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up

Tagac writes beautifully and her background as a song writer comes through in the lyricism of the prose. She lays out an emotionally intense and personal story of an inuk experience, filled with mythical stories, raw and real violence and tragic life events, interspersed with her throat singing. Although at times the loose structure leaves the reader lost, the threads connect beautifully at the end.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, haunting, unnerving, I did not devour Split Tooth, Split Tooth devour me.

With its beautiful language and deep meaning, it defies categorization and blends seamlessly aspects of poetry, memoir and literary fiction. Reading it felt like a fever dream, like an hallucination with shots of sharpened clarity; it is bitter and cold like the northic snow but also incredibly tender and soft. I'm sure it will grow on me more and more as time passes. Tanya Tagaq opened up my soul.

I recommend
WOW! How did this book not make the Giller short list (along with Our Homesick Songs). I can think of a few short-listers that are much weaker. Listen to this as an audiobook, read by the author, and interspersed with her throat singing. Absolutely stunning, lyrical, poetic, mythical, and raw story-telling.
Ron S
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with Ms Tagaq's live musical performances, this work is filled with unexpected twists and turns, sorrow and beauty, but the overwhelming impression is one of magic and awe.
As visceral and odd as I would expect from having listened to the music of Tanya Tagaq, an Inuk throat singer, who does experimental and interesting stuff. This novel, written in the first-person with a somewhat flat tone, interspersed with poems, tells the story of a young Inuk girl growing up in the 70s in a small community in Nunavut. I liked how economically Tagaq was able to convey Northern life and the effects of colonialism and abuse, from children taking advantage of 24-hour sunlight ...more
The Land has no hierarchy. The Land has no manners; you only obey and enjoy what is afforded you by her greatness. Only logic and great care ensure your survival....We obey or we succumb. p118

Interspersed with indigenous wisdom and stories of growing up in the far north is a shamanic tale that bursts out of its seams and colonizes the last part of the book. Cunningly illustrated with line drawings by Jaime Hernandez and sprinkled with poetry and song, this is a book as challenging as the frozen
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A. Mind blown! At times prose, at times storytelling. This novel is lyrical, mythological, and beautiful. Includes the harsh realities of growing up indigenous (trigger warning!), a love of nature, and what it means to be from the far, far north. I highly recommend the audiobook version for two reasons : 1. Read by the author, which I always love
2. The chapters are interspersed with her performing little bits of her throat-singing. Indeed, she sings one of the poems. Wonderful!
Jessica Doyle
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully and honestly written memoir of Tagaq's childhood through teen years growing up in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Split Tooth is a descriptive and at times uncomfortable read, but is a book any Canadian wanting to better understand the First Nations experience should pick up.
Phillip Edwards
'Tears freeze'

Tanya Tagaq is an Inuit throat singer, musician and composer, whose work has been featured on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction.

Her debut novel is the memoir of an Inuit girl growing up in Nunavut in the late 1970's.
"Innuinakrun class. I hate this class. The teacher's dry, brown, papery hands repulse me. His nails have weird white lines underneath them. He is too thin and hunches as if he is about to be kicked. He moves like a nervous rat. He wears yellow-tinted aviator glasses. He
Kayla Goggin
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four stars for the text, 400 stars for the audiobook performance. This starts out as a memoir about a preteen Inuk girl growing up in northern Canada and transforms into something I don’t even know how to define???? Poetic dream-visions of growing up queer and obsessed with the strangeness of the natural world combined with traditional Inuit mythology and criticisms of colonialism and discussions of sexual violence.

I loved all the passages revolving around the eroticism of nature. How can I
Sherry Monger
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, this work of fiction is unlike anything I have read before. Part fable, legend, memoir, we are adrift in a young Indigenous girl’s life as she attempts to understand her disturbing, often violent world. She looks to the spirit world for strength and wisdom and seeks healing for all who are suffering quietly.

If you are living in silence
With violence in your bones
Sorrow in your marrow
Blood running cold
Heal I beg you
Heal I beg you
Heal I beg you
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Play Book Tag: Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq 4 stars 7 30 Oct 19, 2018 07:48PM  

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TANYA TAGAQ is an improvisational performer, avant-garde composer, and experimental recording artist who won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize for her album Animism, a work that disrupted the music world in Canada and beyond with its powerfully original vision. Tagaq contorts elements of punk, metal, and electronica into a complex and contemporary sound that begins in breath, a communal and fundamental ...more
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“This is where my lesson was learned: pain is to be expected, courage is to be welcomed. There is no choice but to endure. There is no other way than to renounce self-doubt. It is the time of the Dawning in more ways than one. The sun can rise, and so can I” 6 likes
“We are product of the immense torque that propels this universe. We are not individuals but a great accumulation of all that lived before.” 4 likes
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