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.