The Back of the Turtle
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This is Thomas King’s first literary novel in 15 years and follows on the success of the award-winning and bestselling 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.
misconstrued. He was simply curious. 81 TODAY IS A VERY GOOD DAY. IT IS SUCH A GOOD DAY THAT Sonny doesn’t even think to check for salvage as he walks along the beach. Big Red has returned. Halfway up the slope to the motel and the neon star, Sonny looks back at the water. He can’t see the tower anymore, but he can see the glow of the beacon fire burning bright. Sonny. Keeper of the flame. Sonny. Turtle master. The sand and the dirt roll under his feet, but he leans into the hill and
time, and if ye have an inclination, I’ll tell ye the story while we eat.” Sonny comes to the edge of the blanket. He is very hungry, and the food smells very good. Is it safe? Sonny asks the dog. Is it safe? The dog rolls over in the sand and farts. Good doggy, says Sonny. Good doggy. “Eat what ye will.” Crisp holds out a sandwich. “For there’s more things in heaven and earth than can be imagined.” Sonny takes the sandwich. It is still warm and soft, but with a crunchy crust. Just the way
he likes it. Sonny gives part of the sandwich to the dog. “His name is Soldier,” says Crisp, “though he’s not opposed to a new name now and again, and perhaps ye can find something to please the both of ye.” Sonny chews on the sandwich. He can taste the cheese and the mustard, the bread and the butter. Salvage, Sonny tells the dog. I name you Salvage. “A fine name,” says Crisp, wiping the grease from his beard and licking his fingers. “And when ye have done your fill, there’s something I must
yada yada.” Suddenly, Parker didn’t sound quite so stupid or arrogant. “You interested?” Parker wrote on a napkin. “Check them out. That’s my number.” Gabriel looked at the name on the napkin. Domidion. Parker picked up his plate and started back to the hot tub. “When you’re ready to get out of the pot,” he said, “give me a call.” UP ahead, the fog thinned. Gabriel could make out a clearing in the distance and the soft glow of lights. He was stepping along with the song now and enjoying
rubbing his heels, the Rolex sparkling on his wrist in the crackle of city lights, and he hoped that Franklin and Lillian, or Sloan, for that matter, wouldn’t come out of the restaurant and catch him at the curb with his arm out. 39 BEATRICE HOT SPRINGS WAS MARKED BY DARK PILLARS OF dry-fit stones, with a heavy header of rough timbers. Even with the light from the lanterns, the entrance looked like the mouth of a cave. Gabriel had to hurry to catch up to Mara. “You move pretty good.” Someone