Book Review: The Breaking by Irma Gold

The Breaking…

About the Book:

Hannah Bird has just arrived in Thailand. Disoriented and out of her depth, she meets Deven, a fierce and gutsy Australian expat who sweeps her into thrilling adventures rescuing elephants.

As they head deeper and deeper into the fraught world of elephant tourism, their lives become tangled in ways Hannah never imagined. But how far will they go to save a life?

Hannah is about to make a critical decision from which there will be no turning back, with shattering consequences.

The Breaking is an extraordinary debut. Sharply observed and richly vivid, it is an intensely moving story about the magnetic bond between two young women and the enduring cost of animal exploitation. It is at once devastating and exhilarating, and ultimately transformative.

My Thoughts:

Irma Gold’s debut novel, The Breaking, is an impactful work of eco-literature with a sub-plot of angst-filled queer romance. It has broad appeal and has an urgency to its narrative style that matches the gravity of the eco themes it deals with.

There are multiple scenes of cruelty towards elephants within this book and they were not easy reading – nor were they meant to be. They were also not gratuitous, simply factual, but emotionally gripping nonetheless. If this novel assists in raising further awareness of the plight of Asian elephants at the mercy of the tourism industry, then I’d consider it a job well done.

Irma captures the right beat with her two female characters, twenty somethings, young and fiercely passionate about animal rights and the state of the planet, poised for action right now, consequences be damned. I love how Irma traversed this; the consequences of taking extreme action were laid out in a clear ripple like effect and Hannah’s realisation of this in the moments of ensuing chaos was a powerful narrative force.

Australian literature has an exciting new voice on the scene and I look forward to reading more from Irma Gold. A special mention for that cover too. Absolutely stunning design and perfectly matched to the book it’s wrapped around.


Thanks is extended to MidnightSun Publishing for providing me with a copy of The Breaking for review.

About the Author:

Irma Gold is an author, editor and reader. Her critically acclaimed debut collection of short fiction, Two Steps Forward (Affirm Press), was shortlisted for or won a number of awards. Irma’s short fiction has been widely published in journals, including Meanjin, Westerly, Island, Review of Australian Fiction and Going Down Swinging, and in anthologies like Australian Love Stories edited by Cate Kennedy, and the tenth anniversary edition of Award-Winning Australian Writing 2017.
Irma is also the author of three picture books for children, most recently Megumi and the Bear (Walker Books), with two more forthcoming, Seree’s Story (Walker Books) and Where the Heart Is (EK Books). Irma is passionate about childhood literacy and is Ambassador for the 2016 ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge.
Irma’s debut novel, The Breaking, won the NSW Writers Centre Varuna Fellowship and was awarded development grants by artsACT and CAPO.

The Breaking
Published by MidnightSun Publishing
Released 1st March 2021

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Breaking by Irma Gold

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