The Orenda: A novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this hugely acclaimed author’s new novel, history comes alive before us when, in the seventeenth century, a Jesuit missionary ventures into the wilderness in search of converts—the defining moment of first contact between radically different worlds, each at once old and new in its own ways. What unfolds over the next few years is truly epic, constantly illuminating and surprising, sometimes comic, always entrancing, and ultimately ...
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The Orenda: A novel

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This item will be available on May 13, 2014.
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Overview

In this hugely acclaimed author’s new novel, history comes alive before us when, in the seventeenth century, a Jesuit missionary ventures into the wilderness in search of converts—the defining moment of first contact between radically different worlds, each at once old and new in its own ways. What unfolds over the next few years is truly epic, constantly illuminating and surprising, sometimes comic, always entrancing, and ultimately all-too-human in its tragic grandeur.

Christophe, as educated as any Frenchman could be about the sauvages” of the New World whose souls he has sworn to save, begins his true enlightenment shortly after he sets out when his native guides—terrified by even a scent of the Iroquois—abandon him to save themselves. But 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. The Huron-Iroquois rivalry, now growing vicious, courses through this novel, and these three are its principal characters.

Christophe and Snow Falls are held captive in Bird’s massive village. Champlain’s Iron People have only lately begun trading with the Huron, who mistrust them as well as this Jesuit Crow who has now trespassed onto their land; and Snow Falls’s people, of course, have become the Hurons’ greatest enemy. Bird knows that to get rid of them both would resolve the issue, but he sees Christophe, however puzzling, as a potential envoy to those in New France, and Snow Falls as a replacement for the two daughters he’d lost to the Iroquois. 

These relationships wax and wane as life comes at them relentlessly: a lacrosse match with an allied tribe, a dangerous mission to trade furs with the French for the deadly shining wood that could save the Huron nation, shocking victories in combat and devastating defeats, then a sickness the likes of which none of them has ever seen. The world of The Orenda blossoms to include such unforgettable characters as Bird’s oldest friend, Fox; his lover, Gosling, who some believe possesses magical powers; two more Jesuit Crows who arrive to help form a mission; and boys from both tribes whose hearts veer wildly from one side to the other, for one reason or another. Watching over all of them are the spirits that guide their every move.

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 in faces nothing less than annihilation. A saga nearly four hundred years old, it is also timeless and eternal.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 01/01/2014
Based partially on real-life events during the mid-1600s in southern Canada near the shores of Lake Huron, this new book from Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Boyden (Through Black Spruce) centers on Bird, a Huron warrior and leader. Bird captures the Jesuit missionary Father Christophe and brings him back to his village with young Snow Falls, who is from the rival Iroquois tribe. Father Christophe immediately begins evangelizing but also absorbs the Huron nation's language and customs, while Snow Falls refuses to cooperate in any way with Bird or his people, being hostile to the point of wounding Bird, and herself, accidentally, which serves the purpose of uniting them instead. Gradually accepted into her new location, Snow Falls comes under the tutelage of Gosling, a wisewoman possessing magical powers. In the ongoing warfare with rival tribes, most frequently the Iroquois, the Huron's most dangerous enemies are the diseases from the foreigners. Weakened from battle and illness, Bird and other members of the tribe decide to move temporarily to a white settlement in hopes of escaping the Iroquois wrath. VERDICT In this long and detailed story, Boyden seeks to re-create the rhythms and patterns of living a life close to nature, battling the elements, and surviving in a harsh climate. Dignified and penetrating, this work offers themes of clashing cultures and religions that resonate in today's world. [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/13.]—James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385350747
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 148,052

Meet the Author

Joseph Boyden’s first two novels won virtually every prize that Canada has to offer. Three Day Road  (2005):  the Roger’s Writers Trust Prize; the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year; the Canadian Authors Association Book of the Year; the Libris Book of the Year; and the Amazon/Canada First Novel Award. Through Black Spruce (2008): the Scotiabank Giller Prize; the Libris Book of the Year; the Libris Author of the Year.

In 2012, Boyden was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian art and culture. The following year, The Orenda was a number-one best seller there. 

On the faculty of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico, he divides his time between Northern Ontario and New Orleans, Louisiana.  

From the Hardcover edition.

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