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The Back Of The Turtle Hardcover – Sep 2 2014
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“Gracefully written, this is a fable-like morality tale. With King’s trademark flashes of humour, irony and deadpan delivery, The Back of the Turtle is populated with wounded characters who are trying to heal in the wake of an environmental disaster.” (Toronto Star)
“King’s writing is sharp, the characters are well-drawn, and his topic is suitably grave.” (National Post)
About the Author
Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer of Cherokee and Greek descent. His acclaimed, bestselling fiction includes Medicine River; Truth and Bright Water; One Good Story, That One; and A Short History of Indians in Canada. In addition to its many award distinctions, Green Grass, Running Water was named to Quill & Quire’s Best Canadian Fiction of the Century list. A member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of an award from the National Aboriginal Foundation, Thomas King is a professor of English at the University of Guelph, Ontario.
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Top Customer Reviews
I would probably rate the book higher if I were to reread it. I very much liked the beginning and the conclusion, but got bogged down and bored at times. Now that I understand how everything fits together I would rate it higher in retrospect.
The book starts with despair, chronicles a dreadful environmental and human disaster, and ends with a glimmer of hope.
We meet Gabriel while he is waiting for the tide to sweep him out to sea to his death. He plays the drum and sings while awaiting his suicide. It is interrupted when he sees a girl with almond shaped eyes and long black hair who appears to be drowning. She must have fallen from the sky into the sea. This resembles Native creation folk lore about a woman who fell from the sky. Gabriel rescues her and then others appear thrashing in the water. He struggles to save them, and exhausted discovers they have all vanished. Magic realism or something else?
The tide is now wrong for his suicide, so he must wait. We learn that Gabriel was a brilliant scientist who developed a defoliant called Green Sweep. This was used by a company called Domidon to remove vegetation around a pipeline, and was never approved for use. Gabriel has come to the town of Samaritan Bay on the BC coast.
This town was a popular tourist destination where people flocked to see the annual hatching of the baby turtles and their journey to the sea. Then came the 'Ruin' when the rivers and sea became poisoned, destroying the turtle nesting ground, fish, animals and sea birds. Stores and other businesses shut down. A nearby Native Reservation was horribly affected. Many died and the survivors were moved away. Gabriel's mother and sister were among those who died.
Gabriel feels guilty and depressed.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I didn't read it, it was a gift for our daughter-in-law in the UK.Published 10 months ago by Diane Onciul
Good story but I wouldn't say it is good enough to recommend as "you must read".Published 15 months ago by James M. O'Reilly