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Split Tooth

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,042 ratings  ·  358 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
...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Viking
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,042 ratings  ·  358 reviews


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Meike
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
❤️
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canlit, indigenous
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. It
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Carolyn
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Dan
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 colo ...more
Leah Grantham
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 th ...more
Monika
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This is unlike anything I have ever read. It defies language, convention, and any literary form. Genre-bending even feels like a weak description. This book comes out in September, and I highly recommend picking up a copy.
Jacob Kolody
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 fl ...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.
Ilana
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 poin
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Krista
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 fiction
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David J
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: anticipated-2018
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
Christine
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.
Sp
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Kevin
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nilton Teixeira
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 autho ...more
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.
Candie
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 reaso
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Alex
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
chantel nouseforaname
Beautiful. Like insanely so. I don't even know what to say..it 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 u
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Maddie C.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 rea
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Ron S
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Emmkay
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
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 aro ...more
Katy
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 sicken
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Louise
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.
Jessica Doyle
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Magdelanye
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
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Phillip Edwards
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'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 sm
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Jillypenny
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Janet
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is going to seem like a weird thing to say, but this book feels like coming home. These experiences aren't my exact experiences, of course, but I feel like so much of the imagery is woven into my family history that I can relate. This book runs the gamut of human emotion and you'll laugh, cry, smile and rage all through its pages. But I still hope you'll read it.
Jackie
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a vicious book. brutal, maternal, sweet, and so visceral. her writing is so special and creepy! in the best way possible!
Joyce
I hardly know what to say about this book. It was a stretch for me, yet it displays many of the elements I enjoy--a dreamy quality to the prose; coming of age story that I found a bit disjointed at first and then, well, fantastic, mythological; a powerful story of a young woman. I don't know what it's like in print, but do yourself a favor and listen. It's just amazing. The author is an acclaimed throat singer, and if you don't listen, you miss that unusual extra. The author reads the story and ...more
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Play Book Tag: Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq 4 stars 7 28 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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“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
“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” 3 likes
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