Get a free audiobook

The Back of the Turtle

A Novel
Written by: Thomas King
Narrated by: Doug Philip
Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 33.54
CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction!

This is Thomas King's first literary novel in 15 years and follows on the success of the award-winning and best-selling The Inconvenient Indian and his beloved Green Grass, Running Water and Truth and Bright Water, both of which continue to be taught in Canadian schools and universities. Green Grass, Running Water is widely considered a contemporary Canadian classic.

In The Back of the Turtle, Gabriel returns to Smoke River, the reserve where his mother grew up and to which she returned with Gabriel's sister. The reserve is deserted after an environmental disaster killed the population, including Gabriel's family, and the wildlife. Gabriel, a brilliant scientist working for Domidion, created GreenSweep, and indirectly led to the crisis. Now he has come to see the damage and to kill himself in the sea. But as he prepares to let the water take him, he sees a young girl in the waves. Plunging in, he saves her, and soon is saving others. Who are these people with their long black hair and almond eyes who have fallen from the sky?

Filled with brilliant characters, trademark wit, wordplay, and a thorough knowledge of native myth and story-telling, this novel is a masterpiece by one of our most important writers.

©2013 Thomas King (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A timely, enjoyable read

Thomas King's The Back of the Turtle is a rare gem that explores topical themes like environmental destruction, corporate corruption, and the legacy of colonialism without letting the reader lose hope. The book takes place after an environmental catastrophe has destroyed a small coastal town, driving away the turtles and the tourists, killing residents of the local reserve and leaving much of the area deserted.

With wit and tenderness, and copious references to both Shakespeare and Indigenous myth, King weaves together the stories of a CEO who finds fulfillment in conspicuous consumption; an Indigenous scientist fleeing the horrors he's created; a woman who returns to the reserve where she grew up; a young man who hasn't been the same since the town's ecology and economy collapsed, and a Puck-like older man who seems to know just what all the other characters need to know. Oh, and a mysterious and important dog. A good choice for thoughtful vacation reading. #Audible1

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Narrator sounds like a sportscaster

Hard to feel the emotion in this otherwise interesting, thought-provoking story that reflects the ills of unfeeling corporate greed and short attention span of the media. Perhaps intentional but it was hard to care for the characters as the narrator's drone felt like a sportscaster reading of last night's unexceptional highlights. Struggled to pay attention. This from someone who generally loves audiobooks.

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

The Back of the Turtle

At first I was having difficulty hearing the narrator. His voice was low, flat, and would drift off. It seemed to improve with the chapters.
I was engrossed in the story and felt it ended too abruptly. I wanted to hear more ~ I wanted Lily and her Mother to be found alive. I wanted Mara’s Mom and Grandma to be found alive.
We need “The Back of the Turtle“
Part ll

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

Cautionary Tale

King is a great story teller. The Back of the Turtle is entertaining, funny and a scary tale of where our practice of abusing the earth is leading. I would love to hear this work read by King himself.