Listen free for 30 days

Audible Membership

$14.95 a month

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $33.54

Buy Now for $33.54

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

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.

What listeners say about The Back of the Turtle

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    15
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Find a different audio version of this book

This book is read by Doug Philip and I will never listen to any other books he narrates. Throughout the whole TEN HOURS, he didn't use any intonation or emotions whatsoever. It's impossible to tell who's speaking until they're mentioned in the story, except for Nicholas Crisp, who Philip gives a weird maritimer's accent to. This is a shame because the lack luster performance is sharply contrasted by the brilliant story telling of Thomas King. Despite the environmental disaster that was central to the theme, I never felt bogged down by catastrophic state of affairs. I loved how King weaved his humor throughout the story. His characters were interesting & believable. Do yourself a favor and read the book, do not listen to this rendition by Doug Philip - Audible, you should have better standards than this.

4 people found this 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.

4 people found this helpful

  • 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

3 people found this helpful

  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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

Unsettling and cozy

Tom King once again makes the familiar strange, the esoteric familiar, and the mundane and awkward so very endearing and grubby. This is a story that is shaped with stories, the ground level horrors of ecological destruction, and the soporific power of consumerism. It defies proper description.

This narrator, though. It sounds like he's reading ad copy through the whole novel. I feel as though I am being sold a car, a toothpaste, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for only 6 easy payments of 19.95! It was seriously jarring and did not work well for most of the POV characters, aside from maybe the vapid CEO. His is not a storytelling voice and it really detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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

It will make you think

An interesting listen where the story makes you ponder issues that are very relevant and often disagreed upon. A beginning or end don't seem to be the objective, more about how you perceive the now.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Characters and story both keep you wanting more

I really loved this one! wish it kept going hah hah the characters are very memorable and even at the end you are left with the sense something supernatural is afoot, although it is never explicitly stated.

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

Had to buy the book

Because the way the narrator read this book was disconcerting. Inflection all wrong and so much more. Great story…badly read. Buy the book and read it yourself.

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

What was that narration?

This is a fantastic book, and Thomas King should be proud of it. However, the narrator was just awful. It made this book a slog, which is impressive considering how good it is otherwise. I recommend reading this story, rather than listening to it. If you can only listen to this story for whatever reason, this isn't the book for you.

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

Entertaining

*3.5 ⭐
Easy listen, enjoyable characters, well written.
The narrator sounds like an auctioneer at full speed though, had to dial it back speed wise.

A little too much time dedicated to certain components of the story (demidian, Dorian). Pages could have been better used in my non literary professional opinion.

Happy listening!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Graham
  • 2019-09-08

Classic King

Perfect for those already familiar with King, and those who have never read/heard him before. A playful blend of Indigenous and Euro-Western allegories, with something to say about contemporary life.