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This Tender Land
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Archive: Other Books > This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger - 5* and a Heart

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Doughgirl5562 | 718 comments An American Odyssey.

This coming of age novel is half a re-telling of the Odyssey - and half Huckleberry Finn. Young Odie and his older brother are orphans being raised (some might say imprisoned) at the Lincoln Indian Training School in Lincoln, MN in 1932, which sits near the Gilead river. When the opportunity arises, Odie and his brother and some friends escape in a canoe down the river with the goal of connecting to the Mississippi and reaching St Louis where their aunt lives. Along the way they meet several unique people (including a one-eyed man and a siren) and have multiple adventures.

I loved William Kent Krueger's previous stand-alone novel - Ordinary Grace, so I had very high expectations for this novel. It took about 75 pages, but I fell in love with young Odie and his fellow travelers as they learned about life, faith and about themselves through their adventures. The allusions to the classic epic Greek poem are obvious and unmistakable, but even if you don't know the connection I think you would enjoy this novel. Odie is quite the storyteller!

Favorite quotes:

"Never was a churchgoer. God all penned up under a roof? I don't think so. Ask me, God's right here. In the dirt, the rain, the sky, the trees, the apples, the stars in the cottonwoods. In you and me, too. It's all connected and it's all God. Sure this is hard work, but it's good work because it's a part of what connects us to this land. This beautiful, tender land." - the one-eyed man.

"We breathe love in and we breathe love out. It's the essence of our existence, the very air of our souls." - Odie

"With every turn of the river since I'd left Lincoln School, the world had become broader, its mysteries more complex, its possibilities infinite." - Odie

Tags: coming-of-age, Minnesota, Minnesota-author, historical-fiction, adventure, America, American-history, orphans, great-depression, Native-American, Sioux, God, faith, racism, brothers, odyssey, re-tellings


 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 1952 comments I just picked this up and am hoping to fit it in soon. I loved Ordinary Grace and am slowly making my way through the Cork O'Connor series.


annapi | 4916 comments I keep forgetting that I have a bunch of his books on my TBR!


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 8292 comments This one is on my secret phone TBR - the True Tome! Its easily going on the list for must read in 2020! Nice review DG.


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