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This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger []



The historical and the literary worlds meet in this beautifully written novel, a perfect choice for a book group! The story is rooted in the literary tradition of Huckleberry Finn all while following the path of The Odyssey. The novel takes place during the Great Depression and it revolves around Odie, a 12 year old orphan who runs away from the horrendous boarding school he and his brother have been left in. As Odie and his band of friends make their way towards St. Louis, they encounter a wide array of characters: everyone from a drunken, one eyed farmer who is hiding a family secret, to a faith healer who is able to see the truth behind the lies. The book deals with many hard truths, including the hatred shown to Native Americans throughout American history and the abject poverty of the Hoovervilles that littered the country during the Depression. In the midst of that is a search for meaning, a search for faith, and an understanding that love of friends, family, and home can combat hatred.

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