Book review: This Tender Land — by William Kent Krueger

(Atria Books)

The epigraph at the beginning of William Kent Krueger’s could not be more apt: “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story” from Homer’s epic “The Odyssey.” The award-winning author of the New York Times bestselling novel “Ordinary Grace,” Krueger has crafted an American saga, epic in scope, a glorious and grand adventure that speaks of the heart and history of this country. Odie O’Banion, a born storyteller, narrates the tale, set in 1930s Minnesota. A group of young orphans — himself, his older (and handier) brother Albert, their friend Mose, and little Emmy, whose life tragically changed course — are on the run from the horrific conditions, and people, of Lincoln, a re-education school for Native American children taken from their families. When a grand opportunity presents itself, they steal a canoe, and head off down the Mississippi River. Each, in turn, discovers, along the way, a place to call home. And while it may be true that every story to be told has already been told, this story will undo you like no other you have ever read before. These characters, whom you have never met, will embed themselves in your heart. This adventurous authentic book will stick with you.

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


10 Must-Read Books of Fall 2019

The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood

The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Dutch House,  by Ann Patchett

The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom

Make It Scream, Make It Burn, by Leslie Jamison

The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner

The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead

Olive, Again, by Elizabeth Strout

Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo

Whistleblowers, by Allison Stanger

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