1 January 2010


Out 1 March 2021

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.

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Praise for The Breaking
‘A heart-stopping, unforgettable read. The Breaking will blow your mind.’
Angela Savage, author of Mother of Pearl

‘Evocative and urgent, The Breaking shows Gold’s talent and heart.’
Kate Mildenhall, author of The Mother Fault

‘Bold, passionate and fierce. A plea against powerlessness and indifference. I loved every minute.’
Karen Viggers, author of The Orchardist’s Daughter

‘Sensual and hyper-dangerous, Gold’s take on human love and animal cruelty is a real tour de force.’
John Clanchy, author of In Whom We Trust

‘Writer and editor Irma Gold’s debut novel has a propulsive energy and a visceral sense of place that’s informed by Gold’s own experience of working with rescued elephants in Thailand … The Breaking doesn’t shy away from the complexity of its themes, acknowledging the imperfection of love and the complicated ramifications of following your convictions all the way to the end. It’s an unusual book, tackling both the messiness of human desire and the flawed nature of our relationships with animals, and may appeal to readers who enjoy the work of writers like Laura Jean McKay, Jessie Tu and Laura McPhee-Browne.
Bookseller + Publisher magazine

‘Gold’s taut, precise prose captures the atmosphere [of Thailand] … Whereas the media often treats young adulthood as a frivolous and self-indulgent stage of life, Gold astutely captures its agonies. In particular, she takes youthful idealism seriously, legitimising the quest of the two protagonists to find a way to live that does not simply capitulate to the status quo.
Newtown Review of Books

‘I absolutely loved The Breaking. It had me with the opening sentence. After finishing I had to sit awhile, holding the book, and thinking it all through. I didn’t anticipate the end. At all. It’s a terrific novel. So much to get and learn from the story. Deven and Hannah will stay with me. And I’ve not been to Thailand but I had a real sense of place. Bravo!’
Deb Stevens, retired A&U sales agent

‘What I noticed as soon as I opened the first page was how beautifully written it was. It gives us plenty to think about of what we do when we go overseas to other countries, and what we do to try and change the world … I think its going to be a really popular read. Its something a little bit different — beautifully written with amazing characters.
Dani Vee, Words and Nerds podcast