Books

Why Ali Hassan says The Break by Katherena Vermette is one of the most compelling books he's ever read

"It is meaningful especially now as Canada celebrates its 150th year," says the Laugh Out Loud host.
CBC Radio host Ali Hassan on The Break by Katherena Vermette. (CBC/House of Anansi Press)

July 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is creating the Great Canadian Reading List — a list of 150 books curated by you. 

Ali Hassan, host of Canada Reads 2016 and CBC Radio's Laugh Out Loud, adds The Break by Katherena Vermette to the reading list.

"A book I read this year that has been very meaningful to me was The Break by Katherena Vermette. I think it would have been meaningful at any time, but it is meaningful especially now as Canada celebrates its 150th year. There is a lot to celebrate, but there's also a lot to look at in our past, our shortcomings and our failings. I think this book really drives that point home.

"We talk a lot about inclusion and people, including myself, always want to see ourselves in literature and in various pieces of art. In that book, on paper there's nothing that includes me. The Break is not in any way about a Pakistani, Muslim, male, stand-up comedian who was born in New Brunswick. Yet, Katherena Vermette, through her storytelling and those tales of these Métis women in Winnipeg, wrapped me in. It's one of the most compelling books I've ever read and one I highly recommend."

Ali Hassan is a CBC Radio host, actor and stand-up comedian. He is currently touring his solo show, Muslim, Interrupted, around Canada.

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