May 2014 Indie Next List
“Wrenching and redemptive, The Orenda offers a narrative scope so wide it seems to encompass centuries and generations, despite taking place over only a few short years. Though Boyden's novel closely follows a strange trinity of the displaced and the mournful -- a powerful Wendat warrior scarred by the loss of his family, an ungainly but earnest Jesuit missionary, and the troubled, gifted Iroquois girl who equally unites and stands apart from them -- he writes of timeless and universal cycles of loss and regeneration and loss again. This is a staggeringly beautiful work.”
— Sam Kaas, Village Books, Bellingham, WA
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 that 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 among 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 with each other through intricately woven acts of duplicity, small battles erupt into bigger wars and a nation emerges from worlds in flux.
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, and the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel 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.