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  • Five Little Indians

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Michelle Good
  • Narrated by: Kyla Garcia
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (837 ratings)

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Five Little Indians

Written by: Michelle Good
Narrated by: Kyla Garcia
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Publisher's Summary

WINNER: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

WINNER: Amazon First Novel Awards

Finalist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist: Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Prize

Finalist: BC & Yukon Book Prize

Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Awards

Finalist: Kobo Emerging Author Prize

National Best Seller; A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year; A CBC Best Book of the Year; An Apple Best Book of the Year; A Kobo Best Book of the Year; An Indigo Best Book of the Year

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can’t stop running and moves restlessly from job to job—through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps—trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew.

With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward. 

©2020 Michelle Good (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

Featured Article: Finding the Canadian Voice That Speaks To You

The Canadian voice is a powerful, distinct and rich one. From the First Nations and those that have lived in Canada for generations to new immigrants, the tapestry that makes up Canada from Nova Scotia, to Toronto, Winnipeg to Vancouver and every city in between is a colourful combination of people, voices and stories. Whether you’re searching for a relatable experience or seeking to hear a new perspective of this country we love, we’ve compiled a list of 10 amazing audiobooks by Canadian authors to help you find the voice that speaks to you.

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What listeners say about Five Little Indians

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

Poor narration,mediocre plot

I have never listened to an audio book with such an annoying narrator.every sentence sounds sing-song and my partner thought it was a computer reading the book. The narration was the worst experience.
It wasn’t until the end when some very moving material appeared,otherwise a very mediocre book terribly read.

10 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 2022-02-18

Great story with unfortunate narration

I’m probably not adding anything that has not been said. The story is very good and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning a little about the lives affected by residential schools. It provides insight in that way that historically minded fiction can do very well.
That brings me to the narration. Another reviewer said it very well. That the voices of characters are often very well done but the non spoken internal monologue is done in a very rhythmic mechanical manner with repeated emphasis on the final syllable. It is very distracting to LIS-TEN-TO. And made the overall experience FRUS-TRA-TING.

If I had not committed to reading it quickly I would have given up and maybe tried reading with my eyes. As it is, I found 1.4x speed somehow made it much better and is the only way I finished the book.

7 people found this helpful

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great book, needs better narration

I love this book so much I've listened twice. But the second time around I noticed that the narrative voice is very "white" and Indigenous people have very distinct accents. Would have had much better listening experience if it had been narrated by an Indigenous person.

7 people found this helpful

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Every Canadian needs to read this

This book was such a lovely moving story of strength, and survival, as well as heartache and sorrow. While the subject matter is difficult and hard to listen too at times, I believe it's our responsibility as Canadians to learn as much as we can so we can do better.

6 people found this helpful

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Important story, but poor narration

Such an important story, so listened through... but very difficult with this narration. I had read similar responses in other reviews. Found the narrator did voices well (for the most part) but all the narration in between dialogue had the same mechanical upward inclinations throughout. Feel it detracted greatly from the story itself. But definitely worth it to help build a better understanding of what Canada's Indigenous population may have experienced through the Residential School system and how that trauma has impacted their lives over the years that followed, and in turn, the generations that followed them.

5 people found this helpful

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  • T
  • 2021-03-11

heartwarming & heartwrenching

So sad that we out people through such an experience. And I have no words for the resilience shown by these characters!

Already recommending!

3 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Canadian story, unfortunate narration

This story, based on so many horrible Canadian stories of residential school, is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Beautifully written by MIchelle Good with unforgettable characters and compelling stories of family, intergenerational suffering, love, and resilience. Narration on the audio version was not good. Why choose an American/hispanic actress who reads way too fast to play the role of Indigenous characters in this story? It was really difficult to listen to her. Wish now that I had read the print version. That said, I would listen to this audio book again again if they chose to re-record it with a culturally appropriate Indigenous Canadian actress/narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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A very timely read about Indian schools

I quite enjoyed this book . Its was my 2nd audible . The author very cleverly wove the characters and stores together and sometimes you needed to listen very carefully to a following chapter to what had happened to a character such as Howie .

1 person found this helpful

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Heartwrenching

Beautifully told story of the heart breaking truth of residential institutions. The truth will prevail.

1 person found this helpful

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too upsetting

I couldn't finish this because it was too disturbing. I couldn't listen to all the violence and tape

1 person found this helpful

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  • Angela Nelson-Heesch
  • 2021-07-20

Read it yourself.

The story is powerful but the performance gets in the way and makes it hard to get lost in it. It’s a barrier to feeling the emotions that the author evokes

2 people found this helpful

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  • Wintermute
  • 2022-05-12

Great Story; Horrible Narrator

This is an important story that deserves a better narrator. I had to switch to Kindle after the first chapter because the voice sounded like disconnected AI. The repetitive cadence suggests the narrator had no idea what was being said.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Lynn
  • Lynn
  • 2022-03-20

Real Experiences, Poorly Narrated

Residential Indian Boarding Schools in Canada and the US stole children, their futures, their families, their communities. The impacts reverberate today. The book tells the story of 5 such individuals, residential school survivors, and how they cope following their experiences in an honest and compassionate way.

The narration here, though, is poor. The reader fails to capture the spirits and nature of the characters. A Canadian/First Nations narrator would have added credibility. An E for Effort for the Boriquen narrator but it missed the mark for me.

As another reviewer wrote, read the book yourself. Use your voice to give the characters voice. It’ll make a better story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • all our stories
  • 2022-02-27

A powerful story

A powerful story, more fact than fiction, to those who endured abuse and the misuse of power. Survival does not erase pain nor can a wounded heart be healed by reparation, until the abuse is exposed and acknowledged.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-02-25

So badly narrated.

I’m wondering who chooses the actors and directs them? This is the second book that I’m listening to that is so badly narrated. It feels like the narrator has no connection to the content of the book, neither the ability to give it emphasis and warmth. It’s read in a very sterile way with a repetitive language melody.
I was really interested in the book, but had to stop after the first couple of chapters, because it just doesn’t do it justice.
Very sad.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 2023-01-25

A must read

Well told tragic story following 5 residential school survivors. Excellent narration for this version.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Denice Hein
  • 2022-12-08

5 Voices to Hear

The story was amazing. I had a hard time with the narrator at the beginning. But within 2nd chapter I was hooked by the unique and terrifying stories of the Native children and their life experiences. History that needs to be hear by all!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. A.
  • 2022-11-28

A must read for all Canadians

A history of children suffering right under our noses and the entities -religious, law enforcement, and civilian - that didn’t even bat an eye. It’s also a truth of how sometimes sharing splits the pain
for some, but for others the damage is too harsh for healing.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Teresa S. Gulyas
  • 2022-11-02

Impact of Indian boarding school on life

Well-written book about the lives of four North American Indians and their lives at boarding school and afterwards. Describing the impact that the abuse they suffered had on each of them was sad at times, enlightening at others.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brenda L. Travis
  • Brenda L. Travis
  • 2022-10-03

History of a Lost People

I enjoyed listening and wondered how people could be so inhumane to another. I was delighted with an ending of hope.