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Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
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Three Day Road (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Joseph Boyden

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1,183576,798 (4.27)266
Member:susanbooks
Title:Three Day Road
Authors:Joseph Boyden
Info:Penguin Books (2005), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, ww1, memory, race, body, barbara

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Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (2005)

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English (51)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Wonderful book. Superb storytelling. When I begin some books, I can tell right from the start it is going to be a good book. This is one of those. The book has a powerful beginning that hooked me. Not very far in I had a sudden sense of where the story might end. I read something into one line of prose. I rarely rate a book 5 stars and I rarely read a book this good.

There are multiple stories here, woven together. The main story is about two James Bay Cree Indians who enlist in the Canadian Army and are sent to fight the Hun in WWI. Only one returns. The story moves back and forth between characters and in time from their youth to the war to after the war, as well as to earlier days of the Cree and the time of their Aunt who brings one of the young men home on the Three Day Road. The Aunt's life and early Canadian life in the greater James Bay - Moose Factory area is the other story woven into the story. The transitions were mostly very effective but a couple less so. I also thought the narrative stretched maybe a little too long towards the middle of the book. These are minor complaints about a great book. Highly recommended. ( )
2 vote RBeffa | Sep 12, 2014 |
I re-read this book as a memory to the 100th anniversary of WWI. In my opinion, it is one of the finest fictional accounts of life on the battlefields of France and Belgium. Two narrators, Xavier and Niska tell the story of life near James Bay for the two snipers and Niska and life on the battlefield for Xavier and Elijah. Elijah is the extrovert who becomes a morphine addict, an expert sniper but who crosses a moral line with his lust for killing. Xavier is the introvert who although a better shot, is more modes. Niska cares for a severely injured Xavier when he returns from the war to northern Ontario. Brilliant character development and story telling. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Aug 4, 2014 |
The focus in this book is primarily on two Cree best friends who become snipers, fighting for Canada in World War I. The book does flip back and forth between the viewpoint of Xavier (one of the snipers) and his aunt, Niska, who raised him.

The first half of the book was pretty slow-going for me. But it really picked up in the second half, I thought. The best parts of the book were the WWI scenes, in my opinion. I often had trouble at the beginning of each chapter, not following right away whose viewpoint we were following at that point. The book also jumped around when it came to the time frame – during the war, Xavier growing up, Niska when she was younger, after the war, etc. - so I found that a bit confusing at times, as well. Overall, though, it was good. I'm glad I finally read it. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 8, 2014 |
An astonishing novel. An even more astonishing first novel. There can be no disputing Joseph Boyden is not only an accomplished story-teller, but a significant Canadian voice in the 21st century.

Three Day Road, drawn from real people and real history, is an impeccably researched, and skilfully wrought tale of two Cree soldiers who fight in the nightmare of WWI. It is a story about the terror of residential schools, the descent into madness, and the arduous journey back to peace of mind and body.

A singularly great novel and great read. Highly recommended. ( )
  fiverivers | Jun 15, 2014 |
This was an odd mixture of two Cree Indian youths and the fighting in World War I. These two elements worked very well together. The novel was very effective and touching, even frightening in the evocative realistic war scenes. Two Cree Indian young men from North Ontario, enlist in the Canadian Army in World War I and fight in France, most notably at Vimy Ridge. The two youths in the novel become sniper and scout. They have always hunted together since boyhood. One, Xavier, loses a leg and is invalided home. Due to the mistranslation of his aunt's letter and another mix-up, he is thought to be his friend, Elijah, who had died in the same attack. Niska, an old healer/seer, who still lives in the 'bush', meets him at the railroad station and then paddles him upriver home in her canoe. The journey takes three days, and the novel consists of each of their memories and telling incidents from their lives and Xavier's memories and telling of his horrific war experiences. We see the prejudice of the wemistoshiw [white men] and learn of Elijah's school years in the mission school. We learn many of the customs and folkways of the Indians. The novel was based in part on a real-life Ojibwa Indian hero of that War, a famous sniper. Besides being the length of the journey home, I thought 'three day road' as a metaphor for death. The novel was beautifully written, and we really got to know the three main characters. ( )
  janerawoof | Apr 29, 2014 |
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JACOB
kina ntehi

AMANDA
kina ninikamowin
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We walk through the snow, follow our trail out to the traplines by the willows.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:17 -0400)

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"...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)

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