Canada Reads·Canadian

The Orenda

Joseph Boyden's historical fiction novel, set in the Canadian wilderness in the 1600s, follows three characters as their cultures clash.

Joseph Boyden

Set in the wilderness in the 1600s, The Orenda brings together three characters and their clashing cultures: a young Iroquois girl named Snow Falls, a Huron elder named Bird and a Jesuit priest named Christopher. As their cultures collide, the stage is set for the country that will become Canada. Both brutal and beautiful, The Orenda brings the past vividly to life: it's historical fiction at its best.

The Orenda won Canada Reads in 2014. It was defended by Wab Kinew.

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From the book

We had the magic, the orenda, before the crows came. We'd never questioned this before their claws first grasped our branches and their beaks first pecked our earth.

Most of us will admit we were taken aback by how quickly the crows adapted. When you fall asleep laughing in the evening, its difficult to awake crying in the sun. But this isn't about sadness, or pity, or blame. We are all party to our own wants as well as to our own shortcomings.

From The Orenda by Joseph Boyden ©2013. Published by Hamish Hamilton Canada.

More about this book

Canada Reads 2014: "The Orenda" by Joseph Boyden

8 years ago
The book trailer for The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. Wab Kinew is defending The Orenda during the Canada Reads debates March 3-6, 2014. 1:01

The Orenda wins Canada Reads 2014

8 years ago
Zulekha Nathoo takes a look at the winner of Canada Reads 2014 as well as some of the other notable contenders 2:00