Friday, 12 September 2014

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

The Orenda opens with the kidnapping of Snow Falls, a spirited Iroquois girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation's great warriors and statesmen. Although it's been years since the murder of his family members, they're never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter; he sees that the girl possesses powerful magic, something useful to him and his people on the troubled road ahead... .
 Christophe does not see himself as a threat, however. A charismatic Jesuit missionary, he has found his calling amongst the Huron, devoting himself to learning and understanding their customs and language in order to lead them to Christ. As an emissary from distant lands, he brings much more, though, than his faith to the new world.

As these three souls dance one another through intricately woven acts of duplicity, small battles erupt into bigger wars, and a nation emerges from worlds in flux. Powerful and deeply moving, The Orenda traces a story of blood and hope, suspicion and trust, hatred and love.

   The Globe and Mail

    The National Post

    Muskrat Magazine

   The Telegraph



1 comment:

  1. Summary of Fireside Readers Discussion from September 17, 2014
    Members liked:
    - The cultural information from that time period in Canada’s history
    - Core values demonstrated by all the characters such as courage, bravery
    - Three narrators done well
    - Eye opener about who writes the history of any event
    - One member had recently watched a documentary film on the Huron nation and so it made it all come alive
    - Balance of power between the Huron and Iroquois was very well represented
    - The portrayal of the clash of cultures with the French and English fur traders and colonists who brought disease that decimated the natives and changed everything
    - Finding out about this time period from all three points of view
    - Finding out about the spirituality, lifestyle of the native groups
    - Became aware of how much we romanticize the life of the natives in this time period
    - Challenged by reading this book
    - Identified with the Jesuit Priest trying to learn the language and culture
    - Good to reflect on how we judge other cultures through our assumptions and biases. How will our times be judged by future generations?
    - Makes the point that what happened in the past can’t stay in the past

    Members disliked:
    - Torture descriptions elicited very strong reactions i.e. shock, nausea, nightmares, forced to skim over torture sections, so much torture it became boring
    - Too much focus on the Huron and the French. The reader would have liked more information about the Iroquois and the English fur traders
    - Language was too modern
    - Too much time on “Caressing” and wondered why that word was used for torture
    - Difficult to tell who was speaking at the beginning of each chapter
    - No emotional content to writing
    - Confused with all the different names for people and groups
    - Sentences were too long with no commas or other punctuation so it was difficult to read aloud
    - Characters not really alive
    - Not sure why he wrote this particular book
    - Not sure why Christophe chose to stay when the others escaped in the canoes to the island