Arts + Culture » Literary

The Orenda

Joseph Boyden (Hamish Hamilton)

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Once in a while a book comes along that one doesn't believe was written, but instead emerged, fully formed, from the earth itself. The Orenda is a stunning example of the most organic of stories, its pages stitched from the flesh and the bloody ink of our ancestors, European and First Nations alike. Told from the perspective of a Jesuit missionary, a captive Iroquois-turned-adoptive Huron, and a Huron chief, this modern epic traces the sociopolitical and inter-cultural landscape of colonial North America in the days of Champlain, vicious warfare and violently conflicting belief systems. Because we're privy to varying perspectives, larger issues of historical and cultural bias, religion and man's dominion over the earth, become as important as plot. A riveting story, The Orenda is a gorgeous, thrilling novel that rewrites the definition of historical fiction. This is Boyden's finest work, and one of the best novels of the year.

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