Publisher's Summary

Finalist for the 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Winner of the 2022 Indigenous Voices Awards’ Published Prose in English Prize

Shortlisted for the 2022 Amazon Canada First Novel Award

Longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2022

Longlisted for First Nations Community Reads 2022

An Indigo Top 100 Book of 2021

An Indigo Top 10 Best Canadian Fiction Book of 2021

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”What a welcome debut. Young Eddie Toma’s passage through the truly ugly parts of this world is met, like an antidote, or perhaps a compensation, by his remarkable awareness of its beauty. This is a writer who understands youth, and how to tell a story.”—Gil Adamson, winner of the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Ridgerunner

Brian Isaac’s powerful debut novel All the Quiet Places is the coming-of-age story of Eddie Toma, an Indigenous (Syilx) boy, told through the young narrator's wide-eyed observations of the world around him.

It's 1956, and six-year-old Eddie Toma lives with his mother, Grace, and his little brother, Lewis, near the Salmon River on the far edge of the Okanagan Indian Reserve in the British Columbia Southern Interior. Grace, her friend Isabel, Isabel's husband Ray, and his nephew Gregory cross the border to work as summer farm labourers in Washington state. There Eddie is free to spend long days with Gregory exploring the farm: climbing a hill to watch the sunset and listening to the wind in the grass. The boys learn from Ray's funny and dark stories. But when tragedy strikes, Eddie returns home grief-stricken, confused, and lonely.

Eddie's life is governed by the decisions of the adults around him. Grace is determined to have him learn the ways of the white world by sending him to school in the small community of Falkland. On Eddie’s first day of school, as he crosses the reserve boundary at the Salmon River bridge, he leaves behind his world. Grace challenges the Indian Agent and writes futile letters to Ottawa to protest the sparse resources in their community. His father returns to the family after years away only to bring chaos and instability. Isabel and Ray join them in an overcrowded house. Only in his grandmother's company does he find solace and true companionship.

In his teens, Eddie's future seems more secure—he finds a job, and his long-time crush on his white neighbour Eva is finally reciprocated. But every time things look up, circumstances beyond his control crash down around him. The cumulative effects of guilt, grief, and despair threaten everything Eddie has ever known or loved.

All the Quiet Places is the story of what can happen when every adult in a person's life has been affected by colonialism; it tells of the acute separation from culture that can occur even at home in a loved familiar landscape. Its narrative power relies on the unguarded, unsentimental witness provided by Eddie.

©2021 Brian Thomas Isaac (P)2021 Brindle & Glass

What the critics say

“What a welcome debut. Young Eddie Toma’s passage through the truly ugly parts of this world is met, like an antidote, or perhaps a compensation, by his remarkable awareness of its beauty. This is a writer who understands youth, and how to tell a story.” (Gil Adamson, winner of the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Ridgerunner)

All the Quiet Places is a deftly crafted, evocative story about the trials of growing up Indigenous. Brian Thomas Isaac’s characters are complex, relatable, and overall, beautifully human.” (Waubgeshig Rice, best-selling author of Moon of the Crusted Snow)

All the Quiet Places is the kind of novel that works its way into your soul. Essentially, it’s a tale of childhood, all the wonders and tragedies, that befall a young boy on an Okanagan Reserve in the middle of the last century. Familiar, yet unique, Eddie’s story will captivate the reader. The best compliment I could bestow on this book is...I wish it was one or two chapters longer. I wanted more.” (Drew Hayden Taylor, Curve Lake First Nation, author of many books including Chasing Painted Horses)

What listeners say about All the Quiet Places

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Haunting Coming of Age

Beautifully crafted story of a boy growing up, experiencing heartache and joy, coming of age in a time of poverty, racism, desperation, love and longing. I loved the story and characters, especially Eddie. The author did a wonderful job of creating a a character that you feel for. The narrator was perfect for the telling. I love that it was somewhat local to me, as a Metis in the Kootenays. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Tragedy in the plain

This story kept me curious. I appreciated how the author wrote about the plain and mundane of the day to day of the characters and also allowed us to journey with them in their worst pain and suffering.

Someone described this story as a slow motion tragedy. In some ways yes.

I was sad that Eddie had some people in his life that behaved so terribly towards him. I also felt a real softening for those to seemed to care for him so deeply.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved every minute!

Great story teller, I couldn’t stop listening. I thoroughly enjoyed this, I need more immediately!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Sad Story

This book is full of tension. Bad things happen to Eddy & then more and even more. It is a tragedy in slow motion. But I am glad I listened to it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DjH
  • 2023-11-23

Great listen

The story line is fairly simple, just about following eddies coming of age.
Very emotional/ sad, with some very heavy emotional scenes. thoroughly enjoyed

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not sure ...

Undecided on whether or not I enjoyed the simplicity or if it hindered the enjoyment.

The first half or so is very "simply" written. Not sure if that is done purposely to convey Eddie's young age? The storytelling does seem to pick-up and be more eloquent in the second half so thinking it was done purposely? The storyline was simple, just following Eddie around with no real arc other than his growth. That left me wanting at times. Only so much interest in following around a 4 year old.

Assuming the portrayal is authentic, I enjoy insight into cultures and communities I am not familiar with, especially when told from a Canadian perspective.

Happy listening!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Just a very sad and depressing book

Easy to listen to but sad
Not uplifting by any means
Relaxing voice by the reader

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