Title: SPLIT TOOTH
Author: TANYA TAGAQ
Narrator: TANYA TAGAQ
Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, DIVERSE NON-FICTION, THROAT SINGING, ABUSE
Length: 5 HOURS and 43 MINUTES
Publisher: VIKING AUDIO
Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK
Release Date: SEPTEMBER 25, 2018
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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 heard.
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 listeners will never forget.
**TRIGGER WARNING **
This book contains descriptions of child sexual abuse. If this topic is a trigger for you, I suggest you give this book a pass.
I purchased a copy of this audiobook from Audible and now that I have finished listening to it, I believe audio is the best way to experience SPLIT TOOTH.
I feel so privileged to have listened to author Tanya Tagaq read her book aloud. Traditionally, the Inuit people passed down their stories and traditions in exactly this manner. Oral storytelling was the norm.
Not only does the author read this book with emotion and depth of experience, she also includes quite a bit of Throat Singing which is incredible to listen to.
The sounds are somehow both ethereal and haunting and despite the lack of lyrics, or maybe because of it, the meanings behind the sounds are quite clear.
Poignant. Visceral. Heart-breaking and real. Tanya Tagaq manages to convey her story in such a unique fashion that it is impossible to ever forget. Despite the heaviness of some of the subject matter, there are many moments of joy, happiness, peace, and a sense of belonging to something greater than herself.
The unfortunate details of abuse, both physical and sexual that Tanya endured as a child were perpetrated by those who should have been her protectors.
No matter what she endured, she knew that she was capable of survival.
The evils of the Canadian Residential Schools had so thoroughly erased her native language that hardly anyone in her ‘town’ knew how to speak it anymore. Not only that, but unthinkable abuses – sexual, physical, cultural and mental were forced upon Residential School “students,” (who were actually prisoners, since neither the children, nor their parents had any choice about attending.)
Make no mistake – these “schools” were an attempt at genocide of the Inuit and of all Indigenous people. There is no excuse or apology that can be adequate enough to erase the damage they caused. And, that damage has reached across the hands of time and affected many children of subsequent generations, including Tanya herself.
Don’t mistake my description to mean that Tanya Tagaq’s memoir is a litany of anger and complaint. It is anything but. Her writing is akin to reading her diary. Listening to the audiobook, I feel as though I have seen inside her very soul. If that sounds over dramatic, I apologize, it is truly the way I feel.
This audiobook is not to be missed. I am sure that just reading the book would be a terrific experience, but as I said above, audio format makes this book not just a story, but also an experience.
I am rating SPLIT TOOTH by TANYA TAGAQ as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tanya also has many music albums available for purchase and after hearing some of her traditional throat singing, I will be downloading her music as well.
“… 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.”
“In the spring you smell last fall’s death and this year’s growth as the elder lichen shows the young how to grow.”
“We are product of the immense torque that propels this universe. We are not individuals but a great accumulation of all that lived before.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Author, Throat singer, artist. Tanya Tagaq is multi-talented.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
AWARDS WON BY THIS BOOK:
Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon First Novel Award
Shortlisted for the 2019 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English
Winner of the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design – Prose Fiction
Longlisted for the 2019 Sunburst Award