Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Back Of The Turtle by Thomas King

The Back Of The Turtle

by Thomas King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
825147,013 (4.3)3

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
I read this book in a single day, that's how much I enjoyed it and wanted to know what happened to the characters. It covers a lot of areas that I'm interested in: business and scientific ethics, environmental protection, the gap between rich and poor, treatment of Indigenous peoples. It even had a section on Donald Trump... ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
"And he was rude," said her mother. "Told us that stories about women falling out of the sky were inappropriate in an educational setting."
"Pregnant women falling out of the sky," corrected Mara's grandmother. "Rose was always specific about that detail."
"Then he went on and told us about that naked couple in that garden," said her mother.
Mara's grandmother pursed her lips. "After that, it got ugly."

It is not often that I come across a book that appeals to me on so many levels; a book that makes me laugh and makes me think; that has me in despair over mankind and, yet, leaves a lot of room for hope.

The story, or rather stories, of The Back of the Turtle deal with the aftermath of an environmental disaster, referred to as The Ruin. Bit by bit, the individual stories of the characters reveal how the Ruin was caused and how the characters were involved in or affected by it.

We get to meet Gabriel who attempts to end his life but instead ends up rescuing a girl from drowning in the sea. We meet Sonny, a boy who has lost his dad and spends his solitary days looking for salvage. We meet Mr Crisp, who is an old sea-dog and a storyteller. We meet Mara, an artist who returns to the reserve only to be confronted with the loss of her family. And we meet Dorian, the CEO, who is the loneliest of all of them.

Even though it might sound like a depressing plot, I loved being transported into the world of this story. King's writing was superbly observant of his characters' moods, and this in turn was expressed in some great dialogues. His mocking portrayal of the hapless corporate machine made me laugh out loud quite a few times.

In contrast to this, he created the group of downbeat underdogs, who despite the devastation caused by the Ruin don't give up searching for ways to return to their way of life. Again, I would have expected this aspect to be quite somber, and while it did make me think, King kept the plot spirited and quite fun - after all, the events described in The Back of the Turtle ring true enough, are real enough, that they might happen any day, and what could possible be more serious than that?

"THE light vanished, and the colours dimmed and died on the canvas. Mara put the brush down. She hadn't accomplished much, but tomorrow she would do a little more. And, after that, a little more. Until Lily and Rose and baby Riel came back to life.
There it was.
Standing at the easel, looking at what she had created, Mara realized that she might have found a purpose, something that would help her make the world whole again."
( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
I will hold on to many images. The cover picture of the hot springs is excellent, the walls graffitied with environmental disaster sites, the motel's lonely beacon over the lifeless scavenger's beach, the Rolexed wrist of the hopeless CEO. Unique. ( )
  loosha | Jan 6, 2015 |
This is a truly wonderful book told by a master storyteller. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it won the 2014 Governor General's prize for fiction, so I thought it would be worth a read. The book is absolutely stellar! King hasn't written a book for 15 years since his Canadian classic Green Grass, Running Water. Maybe it takes 15 years to create a book of this magnitude. I can't say enough good things about this book. King is a major literary talent. His stories are chock-a-block full of lifelike characters living real-life lives-with humour, pathos, sadness, depression, hope and many other human emotions. They live and breathe on the page because of his skill. King's description of native emotions and folklore s evocative and haunting. We also get an insider's look at big oil and agricultural companies and how they travel roughshod over our environment, and this appalling and insightful probe into the big issues in the environment is handled with a light hand and a twist of humour. The book ends on a surge of hopefulness when we see life returning to a tiny decimated seaside community. I highly recommend this book. Thomas King is a Canadian treasure. ( )
  Romonko | Dec 27, 2014 |
Thomas King has written a fantastic novel told from the viewpoints of unforgettable characters. These include the filthy rich CEO of an energy company in Toronto, a scientific genius who worked for the company and is also a native, a young native woman living with the aftermath of an ecological disaster in British Columbia, a young boy living alone in an abandoned motel, and an eccentric older man who watches events unfold. The story speaks to human failings but also resilience and hope. I hesitate to say anything more about the plot as it would rob the reader of the chance to discover everything as the story unfolds. Thomas King is a great story-teller, and the 518 pages just fly by. Highly recommended! ( )
  Scrabblenut | Oct 10, 2014 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.3)
3 1
3.5 1
4 11
4.5 2
5 7

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,421,510 books! | Top bar: Always visible