The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

Adult Fiction pick by Jean-Louis

orenda(Penguin Canada, 2013)

Joseph Boyden is the real deal as far as Canadian writers goes. His first novel, Three Day Road won the Writers’ Trust Award and his next, Through Black Spruce, won the Giller Prize. His new novel, The Orenda is already on the longlist for the 2013 Giller Prize. In between writing novels he also wrote a biography of Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont for the Penguin Lives series and teaches at several universities.

This novel takes us back to the some of the first European contact with the Huron people. Boyden has crafted his novel with three narrators: the first is a Huron war-bearer named Bird, the next is a Jesuit missionary named Christophe Crow (modelled after the real missionary Jean de Brebeuf), and the third is a young Iroquois girl who has been “adopted” by the Huron. This three part narrative provides the structure and the conflict for the novel. And Boyden does not shy away from the conflict–the story is set at the height of the Huron-Iroquois wars and the clash is brutal to say the least.

With the 3-part narrative, Boyden gets to juxtaposition world views. Each side of the story gets a fair airing which invites the reader to engage with the story and try to find their own way through the story. Pick up this book today and keep watch over what Boyden will write next, you will not be disappointed,

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