The Orenda - Joseph Boyden

Title: The Orenda
Author: Joseph Boyden
Pages: 501
Published: 2013
Challenges: Chunkster, I Love Libraries, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical fiction, Canadian literature, Literary fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: A visceral portrait of life at a crossroads, The Orenda opens with a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of the young Iroquois Snow Falls, a spirited girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation’s great warriors and statesmen. It has been years since the murder of his family and yet they are never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter and sees the girl possesses powerful magic that will be useful to him on the troubled road ahead. Bird’s people have battled the Iroquois for as long as he can remember, but both tribes now face a new, more dangerous threat from afar.

Christophe, a charismatic Jesuit missionary, has found his calling amongst the Huron and devotes himself to learning and understanding their customs and language in order to lead them to Christ. An emissary from distant lands, he brings much more than his faith to the new world.

As these three souls dance each other through intricately woven acts of duplicity, small battles erupt into bigger wars and a nation emerges from worlds in flux. (via

Thoughts: I felt that the book was disjointed and while for the most part I could tell who main speaker was, there were times that I was unable to.

There was also the problem that I couldn't tell what point in time the chapter was, even though it was clear that time passed in the novel, mainly due to the age of Snow Falls.  While it was a read that I did get entranced with, I really couldn't figure out exactly time period I was moving through (but after doing a search, I realize that it takes place during the mid-17th century, but it would have been nice to have a context for the book).

That being said, the author does create a lyrical picture of Huronia (yes, I also found that out too during my search to find out the period of the book and by end of the book, I was definitely engrossed in the book.

Bottom line: If you are a fan of contemporary Canadian literature or at least a contemporary spin on a historical event, you might enjoy this one.  Even if you like literary fiction, you may like this as well. Recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pages for 2014: 6391


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