Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Three Day Road (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Joseph Boyden

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,405695,395 (4.25)342
Title:Three Day Road
Authors:Joseph Boyden
Info:Penguin Books (2005), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, ww1, memory, race, body, barbara

Work details

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (2005)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 342 mentions

English (62)  French (4)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All (69)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Some stories are crafted to just tell a story. Nothing wrong with that. With Three Day Road, Boyden has done more than just tell a story. He has crafted a journey. A literal journey in the three day canoe trip Xavier and his Aunt take to travel from town to their home deep in the bush country. A moral journey as we experience the fine line between heroism and homicide against the backdrop of World War I trench warfare and Cree folklore about the Windago, a monster that is a symbol of despair who comes to hunters who become consumed by an unceasing craving for what is unnatural (cannibalism, morphine addiction, human blood-lust). A cultural/racial journey as we experience, through Niska, the sad decline of Cree culture heralded by the creation of reservations and residential schools, with Niska representing one of the remaining traditional natives who live rough in the woods with their wits and traditional teachings to guide them.

I really liked this one. An awful lot to pack into a debut novel, but under Boyden’s pen, this merging of complex stories is handled with a skill and grace that works wonderfully. ( )
4 vote lkernagh | Mar 8, 2017 |
Pretty gruesome. A passable war novel with a gripping narrative but not enough control over character motivations for me. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Two Canadian Cree Indian boys, close friends, go to fight in World War I, where one becomes addicted to morphine and killing and the other struggles to maintain the self he arrived with. A great story well told, though fighting through the battles of WW1 wore on me after a while and I just wished I could stay with the personal story. ( )
  gbelik | Dec 29, 2016 |
I wish I could give 3.5 stars in goodreads, because that's a more accurate representation of my rating. I almost loved this book, but not quite. Not entirely the book's fault - I read it over 3 weeks in little bits; but it took some serious persistence to read past the first 150 pages mainly because I was impatient with the over-arching metaphor. I found the first third awkward and a bit heavy handed, the last 2/3rds were much better, and the last 1/3 excellent. ( )
  mkunruh | Nov 13, 2016 |
Three Day Road a memorable story that will haunt, inspire and entertain.

Niska is a traditional medicine woman, a mix of Cree and Ojibway. She's been taught divining and traditional medicine by her mother and father, has seizures and sees visions. She's also the destroyer of windigo, an evil presence that sometimes takes possession of humans, a role she has inherited through the generations.

Niska is a "bush Indian", living alone in the wilderness of northern Ontario. She is coming by canoe to a small town to meet Xavier, her nephew and last remaining relative. She raised him in the traditional ways until WW I broke out and he and his friend Elijah enlisted in the Canadian Army and were sent to France.

Xavier and Elijah have used their hunting skills to become an outstanding snipers. In France they hunted men instead of game. It changed them.

Xavier arrives home a deeply troubled young man, his leg has been amputated at the knee, he's addicted to the painkiller morphine.

Niska meets him and so begins their journey back into the wilderness, back to sanity, back to healing.

Author Joseph Boyden uses these two main characters to tell the story. Xavier floats on a morphine high and remembers the trenches, the bombardments, the death of comrades, the calculated killing of the enemy one by one as a sniper.

In an effort to draw him out of his personal hell Niska talks to him of her early life, of her parents, of how she came to raise him, of the windigo.

Three Day Road is a moving story of love and sacrifice, of friendship and loyalty, of the horror of war and the pointlessness of it.

Immaculately researched, powerfully written, this is a story that will haunt, inspire, entertain and stay with you. ( )
  RodRaglin | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
He has illuminated a forgotten corner of the Great War and that, in itself, is a prodigious achievement.

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Boydenprimary authorall editionscalculated
López Lobo, ÁlexTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
kina ntehi

kina ninikamowin
First words
We walk through the snow, follow our trail out to the traplines by the willows.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143037072, Paperback)

Joseph Boyden's first novel is the story of two Cree friends, Xavier and Elijah, who leave their pristine northern country to end up in the horrific trenches of World War I. Loosely based on the real life of a famous Canadian sniper, the story is told from two first-person views: those of Xavier and his old aunt and only living relative, Niska. After the war, Niska is taking her wounded nephew back home north to the bush in a canoe. Their trip is the three-day road of the title, which also refers to the journey taken after death. The story of the war is told in flashbacks on this journey as Xavier recovers from morphine addiction. Niska also relates various stories to Xavier, believing there is "medicine in the tale."

Boyden is a natural storyteller. Both the Native tales of the north and the grim accounts of the war in France and Belgium have the ring of truth. His images can be subtly appropriate--raiders who go over the top are "eaten by the night"--and his characterizations are excellent, especially the three main players and Xavier's Canadian trenchmates. Eventually, Elijah seems to feed on the death all around him, becoming a "windigo," while Xavier begins to question the sanity of the war and his friend's growing madness, realizing "we all fight on two fronts, the one facing the enemy, the one facing what we do to the enemy." Not for the squeamish reader, this is a powerful novel that takes a new angle on a popular subject, "the war to end all wars." --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:15 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"...It is 1919 and Niska, an Oji-Cree medicine woman, has left her home in the bush of northern Ontario to recieve Xavier Bird, her only relation who has returned from the trenches of Europe.Gravely wounded and addicted to morphine, Xavier recounts how he and his best friend, Elijah Whiskeyjack, prowled the battlefields as snipers of enormous skill and how the circumstances of their deadly craft led them to very different fates.Told with unblinking focus, this is a stunning tale of brutality, survival, and rebirth that marks the arrival of a prodigious new talent." From the bookjacket.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
50 wanted
8 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.25)
0.5 1
1 3
2 8
3 41
3.5 17
4 139
4.5 50
5 157


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,285,852 books! | Top bar: Always visible