Reading update: The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

orenda

The only way I can describe how I feel about it this book is to say it slammed into me. I read most of it in one sitting on a Saturday afternoon, and I genuinely felt woozy after finishing it. It is brutal, gruesome, and astonishing. In fact, after I finished it, I almost wanted to read something I knew would not be good, because nothing was going to be good after this. It’s historical fiction set in the 17th century Canadian wilderness, where Champlain and his Iron People recently started trading with the Huron, who in turn are at war with Iroquois. This book is a complex and intricate dance of relationships between people, beautifully told. It was described as ‘visceral’ on the jacket, and it is. It is not all gore and blood, but it does pack a serious emotional punch and stays with you for a while. This single sentence captures the essence of it pretty well:

This is the perfect time, and the prettiest of country, in which to witness my father’s brothers kill these enemies.

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