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Fiction / African American & Black / Women > We Rip the World Apart

A Canadian Author Canadian Read

We Rip the World Apart: A Novel

By Charlene Carr

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Publish Date

January 30, 2024


Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Women



A sweeping multi-generational story about motherhood, race and secrets in the lives of three women, perfect for readers of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and David Chariandy’s Brother

When 24-year-old Kareela discovers she’s pregnant with a child she isn’t sure she wants, it amplifies her struggle to understand her place in the world as a woman who is half-Black and half-white, yet feels neither.

Her mother, Evelyn, fled to Canada with her husband and their first-born child, Antony, during the politically charged Jamaican Exodus of the 1980s, only to realize they’d come to a place where Black men are viewed with suspicion—a constant and pernicious reality Evelyn watches her husband and son navigate daily.

Years later, in the aftermath of Antony’s murder by the police, Evelyn’s mother-in-law, Violet, moves in, offering young Kareela a link to the Jamaican heritage she has never fully known. Despite Violet’s efforts to help them through their grief, the traumas they carry grow into a web of secrets that threatens the very family they all hold so dear.

Back in the present, Kareela, prompted by fear and uncertainty about the new life she carries, must come to terms with the mysteries surrounding her family’s past and the need to make sense of both her identity and her future.

Weaving the women’s stories across multiple timelines, We Rip the World Apart reveals the ways that simple choices, made in the heat of the moment and with the best of intentions, can have deeper repercussions than could ever have been imagined, especially when people remain silent.

CHARLENE CARRlives in Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter. She has published nine novels and recently received grants from Arts Nova Scotia and the Canada Council for the Arts to write her next one.

ISBN: 9781443468367
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: January 30, 2024

“Charlene Carr's deep dive into the complexities of race and belonging force, in the gentlest of ways, all of us to confront our own role in making the world a safer place. Carr's exploration of unresolved grief and the impact on family is one we need to hear; one we need to understand. A story of family and the decisions we make, We Rip the World Apart is a truly human exploration full of doubt, regret and most importantly, love. A remarkable story from a remarkable storyteller.” — Amanda Peters, bestselling author of The Berry Pickers“At once intimate and epic, Charlene Carr crafts a sweeping portrait of motherhood and a woman’s right to choose across three generations of a Jamaican-Canadian family overcoming generational trauma. We Rip The World Apart explores the experiences of interracial couples and their biracial children, telling a nuanced tale of hurt and hope, all about finding yourself and your community.” — William Ping, author of Hollow Bamboo"Charlene Carr’s eye for examining life’s most complicated spaces is at its sharpest in this frank, fearless reflection on race, identity, and parenthood. Spanning generations and brimming with family secrets, We Rip the World Apart is page-turning and propulsive, heartbreaking and hopeful in turn. An important and necessary book that will stay with me for a long time.” — Shelby Van Pelt, New York Times bestselling author of Remarkably Bright Creatures"The novel has the raw feel of a protest, while retaining the heart that sees a family to keep trying to connect despite generations of trauma. Moving, intelligent and complex, it deftly explores our struggle to understand even those who are closest to us, the different types of violence we perpetrate on one another, the identities we fight against and the ones we choose to project, and the different ways in which we cope and respond, despite our uncertainty that any of our choices are the correct ones....[A]t times a raised fist, at others a much needed embrace." — Craig Shreve, author of The African Samurai"For fans of Britt Bennet’s The Vanishing Half and Charmaine Wilkerson’s Black Cake, Charlene Carr’s latest is both a charged emotional epic and a gentle exploration of the nuances of love. Motherhood, autonomy, race, politics, grief—every brushstroke works to paint a complex and important picture of the world as it is, and as it could be. This novel is sure to inspire book club discussion and personal reflection, and to stay on your mind long after the final page is turned. Truly a can’t-miss read!" — Marissa Stapley, New York Times bestselling author of Lucky