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The Orenda Hardcover – Sep 10 2013
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"Every so often, a book can bring the past back to life so vividly that it ceases to be history and becomes a part of the living world. Joseph Boyden has done this with haunting beauty and visceral strength, repopulating a destroyed world with characters so real and striking it is hard to think of them as fictional. The Orenda is not only Boyden's finest work, it is one of the most powerful novels I've ever read." - Steven Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo
“Joseph Boyden has taken our memory of the past – myth and fact – ripped it inside out with elegance, violence, emotion and understanding until before us stands a new myth, a new memory, of how we became who we are.” - John Ralston Saul
“The Orenda is a powerful story from history, folklore and the imagination, based on the universality of human cruelty, superstition and perseverance. Wonderful writing.” - Linden MacIntyre, Giller Prize-winning author of The Bishop's Man
“An important and engrossing novel. Boyden invites the reader to re-imagine a Canadian story you thought you knew.” - Jim Balsillie, Co-Founder Blackberry
“I have spent almost forty years of my life studying both the archaeology of the Huron-Wendat and the annual accounts of the Crows and only now, having read Joseph Boyden's brilliant novel, do I feel the majesty and the horrors of the lives of these people. His work should be required reading for every Canadian” - Dr. Ronald F. Williamson, co-author of The Mantle Site: An Archaeological History of an Ancestral Wendat Community and Managing Partner of Archaeological Services Inc.
“Boyden’s bloody and brick-thick new novel, The Orenda, is a historical epic about an idealistic missionary caught between warring tribes, hundreds of years before confederation. . . Full of head-bludgeoning and throat-cutting scenes set in the wilds of what is now Ontario, the novel feels like a hybrid of Pierre Berton and Cormac McCarthy: perfect for readers who like a little arterial spray with their history.” - Toronto Life
“The Orenda illuminates the shadowy moment of our inception as a country. It forces us to bravely consider who we are. The Orenda is much more than a timely novel. It is a timeless one; born a classic.” - National Post
"A stunning, masterful work of staggering depth, possibly the first truly great Canadian novel of this century." - Vancouver Sun
"In what has already been a banner year for Canadian fiction, Joseph Boyden has just stepped decisively to the head of the class." - Montreal Gazette
"An epic worthy of Herodotus or Sima Qian…The Orenda declares it an equal to any ancient Greek or Chinese account of empires rising and falling. . . a great, heartbreaking novel, full of fierce action and superb characters and an unblinking humanity." - Globe and Mail
“Epic in scope, exquisite in execution . . . A fascinating glimpse of what it felt like to live at the sharp end of the spear of European conquest.” - Publisher’s Weekly
About the Author
Joseph Boyden 's first novel, Three Day Road , was selected for the Today Show Book Club, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Amazon.ca/ Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. His most recent novel, The Orenda, won Canada Reads and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Boyden divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Quite beyond The Orenda's importance in the canon of Canadian literature, it is a compelling read. (And for me one near and dear to my heart, given my own short story, And the Angels Sang, which formed the keystone story for my collection by the same name.)
Boyden tells the story of the Iroquoian pogrom against the Wyandot (Huron) peoples, which culminated in the destruction of the Jesuit mission at Ste. Marie among the Hurons in present day Midland, and the legendary torture and execution of St. Jean de Brebeuf.
While Boyden chooses fictional names for the people involved in this historic occurrence, the historical integrity and framework remains.
The story itself is told in first person, present-tense narratives through three voices, that of Snow Falls, an Iroquoian girl orphaned and captured by a Huron warrior; that of Bird, the warrior responsible for Snow Falls' plight and who subsequently adopts her; and Father Christophe, the Jesuit, or Crow, who comes among the Huron to bring his version of redemption and salvation to the sauvages.
Boyden sculpts these characters with a deft hand, so they are fully realized, living entities with voices so strong they haunt your thoughts.Read more ›
Boyden succeeds in recreating the atmosphere of early 16th Century discovery of New France and the volatile convergence of cultures between the Huron, Iroquois, French and Jesuits. Rich characterization, dialogue and an unjaundiced eye make this a superb, compelling and rewarding read. Highest recommendation.
The story is told from three perspectives and this multi-narrative technique works especially well re-telling the same episode from each point of view. In no particular order, the narrators are: Christophe, a francophone Jesuit missionary: Snow Falls, an Iroquois teen kidnapped by the Huron and Bird, a warrior mourning the death of his family. In a haunting manner,Mr. Boyden expertly evokes and mirrors the cycle of destruction. The novel is punctuated by acts of cruelty, savagery, torture and climaxes in a bloody battle, definitely not a story for the squeamish. It is written with unflinching honesty to convey the complexity of the colonial experience and chronicles the mounting rivalry between the Nations, the process of colonization, fur trade, the effect of Christianity, deaths by small pox and other diseases, and the competition between the French and English settlers. A lot of attention was given to detail and I really wonder if the Haudenosaunee and Wendat Nations are truly represented? Or is this simply a well-written, highly imaginative, and pleasant reading material to trump the uncomfortable examination of colonization
Having said this, “The Orenda” is nevertheless a wonderful tale of spiritual conflict and a real page turner.
Most recent customer reviews
Just a wonderful story and depiiction of early Aboriginal life in CanadaPublished 4 hours ago by RODNEY ASHER
I live near Ste. Marie Among the Hurons and have visited it several times but never really understood it until now.Published 2 months ago by Nancy I. Pease
Excellent read. If you're interested a beautifully rendered and shockingly violent telling of the clash of European and indigenous North American cultures in the 17th century, then... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Christopher
Excellent story, I will read it again in a couple of years. There are few books that I would read more than once but this is very good.Published 4 months ago by kd
I loved this book. I liked reading the three perspectives. When you read Thomas King's Truth about stories, you'll realize the importance of each culture's Creation Story and how... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tammy McLeod
Great book by a great Canadian author about great Canadian almost history!Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I need to gather my thoughts and give this book the review it deserves in the morning. For now, I'll just say that it needs to be part of the Canadian curriculum.Published 5 months ago by Danielle Lau