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The Orenda
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Rating
"History reveals itself when, in the seventeenth century, a Jesuit missionary ventures into the Canadian wilderness in search of converts-the defining moment of first contact between radically different worlds. What unfolds over the next several years is truly epic, constantly illuminating and surprising, sometimes comic, always entrancing and ultimately all too human in its tragic grandeur. Christophe has been in the New World only a year when his native guides abandon him to flee their Iroquois pursuers. A Huron warrior and elder named Bird soon takes him prisoner, along with a young Iroquois girl, Snow Falls, whose family he has just killed, and holds them captive in his massive village. Champlain's Iron People have only recently begun trading with the Huron, who mistrust them as well as this Crow who has now trespassed onto their land; and her people, of course, have become the Huron's greatest enemy. Putting both to death would resolve the issue, but Bird sees Christophe as a potential envoy to those in New France, and Snow Falls as a replacement for his two daughters who were murdered by the Iroquois. The relationships between these three are reshaped again and again as life comes at them relentlessly: a dangerous trading mission, friendly exchanges with allied tribes, shocking victories and defeats in battle, and sicknesses the likes of which no one has ever witnessed. The Orenda traces a story of blood and hope, suspicion and trust, hatred and love, that comes to a head when Jesuit and Huron join together against the stupendous wrath of the Iroquois, when everything that any of them has ever known or believed faces nothing less than annihilation. A saga nearly four hundred years old, it is also timeless and eternal"--
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About the Author

Joseph Boyden's first novel, Three Day Road, won numerous awards including the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA's Author of the Year Award. The Orenda was a finalist for the Governor General's English Language Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Award, and won the Libris Book of the Year Award. In 2012, Boyden received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian art and culture. Boyden is a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana.

Reviews

"An extraordinary work that sets the traditional cowboy and Indian story on its head. One of those rare books that manages to be both a work of art and a page-turner, The Orenda is destined to be a classic." --Philipp Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of The Son "Magnificent. . . . An extraordinary work of art, savage and beautiful." --The Washington Post "A rare reading experience that stayed with me even when away from the book and long after I finished reading it. . . . Boyden's prose has a gorgeous simplicity in service of this transcendent tale." --David Takami, The Seattle Times "Riveting. . . . Powerful." --The Economist "Mesmerizing. . . . A noteworthy literary achievement." --Booklist, Top 10 Historical Fiction Books of the Year "The genuine article: a truly necessary book. The Orenda sheds new light on the dark crime at the heart of all North American history, but more important than that, it renders the ostensible victims of that crime, the Indians, as complex, fully realized human beings." --The Millions "Thoroughly beautiful, brilliantly imagined. . . . A few paragraphs into The Orenda I was so thoroughly absorbed in Joseph Boyden's re-creation of the moment of first contact between Old World and New that I was digging my nails into my palms." --Jay McInerney "Satisfies both the heart and the intellect. . . . Highly cinematic. . . . [The Orenda] recall[s] Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, another novel about European missionaries disrupting the fabric of a traditional society." --The Rumpus "Boyden is such a fine writer, evoking his characters' emotions in a touching and understandable way. . . . [His] portrait of the Huron is textured with fascinating details." --The Toronto Star "A magnificent literary beast. . . . [A] blockbuster." --Quill & Quire "Epic. . . . Even-handed and morally complex, melodramatic and keenly felt, it is historical fiction at its best." --The Daily Telegraph (London) "A heart song that spans the continent, and echoes to us across the years. At times devastating and difficult, Joseph Boyden's novel is equally compassionate and inspiring." --Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. "Profoundly researched and told in elegant, muscular prose. . . . A great, heartbreaking novel, full of fierce action and superb characters and an unblinking humanity." --The Globe and Mail (Toronto) "[A] stunning historical epic. . . . The Orenda is much more than a timely novel. It is a timeless one; born a classic. . . . Powerful and convincing." --National Post (Canada) "A sublime, haunting, and harrowing achievement--a work of fiction, of art, of myth-making at its very finest." --Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears "A stunning, masterful work of staggering depth. . . it is like nothing you have ever read, and read it you must. . . . The Orenda is a feat, an achievement [that] is impossible to read without coming away profoundly shaken, possibly changed." --The Vancouver Sun "As gripping as anything I have ever read. . . . Years from now, The Orenda will be called a classic, but for now Joseph Boyden will have to settle for visionary, majestic, awe-inspiring." --Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, The Wilding, and Refresh, Refresh

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