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Joseph Boyden

Author of Three Day Road

9+ Works 4,336 Members 209 Reviews 21 Favorited

About the Author

Joseph Boyden is a novelist and short story writer. His first novel, Three Day Road won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, won the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Of Irish, Scottish and Anishinaabe show more heritage, Boyden writes about First Nations heritage and culture. He studied creative writing at York University and the University of New Orleans, and taught in the Aboriginal Student Program at Northern College. He is currently a Lecturer with the UBC Creative Writing Program. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Joseph Boyden

Image credit: Photo by Nigel Beale / Flickr


Works by Joseph Boyden

Three Day Road (2005) 1,815 copies
Through Black Spruce (2008) 1,071 copies
The Orenda (2013) 999 copies
Wenjack (2016) 217 copies
Born With A Tooth (2001) 143 copies
Louis Riel & Gabriel Dumont (2010) 63 copies
Kikwaakew (2012) 13 copies
Kwe (2014) 2 copies

Associated Works

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices (2014) — Contributor — 173 copies
Four Letter Word: New Love Letters (2007) — Contributor — 134 copies
Me Sexy: An Exploration of Native Sex and Sexuality (2008) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Exile Book of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama (2011) — Contributor — 4 copies


2009 (21) Aboriginal (45) anthology (22) book club (22) Canada (236) Canada Reads (24) Canadian (185) Canadian author (52) Canadian fiction (75) Canadian literature (120) Canadiana (23) Cree (69) ebook (18) family (20) fiction (484) First Nations (152) Giller Prize (28) goodreads (17) historical (19) historical fiction (166) history (28) Huron (19) indigenous (26) Iroquois (22) Jesuits (32) library (21) literature (25) native (20) Native American (36) Native Americans (31) non-fiction (26) novel (44) Ontario (41) read (31) short stories (45) snipers (22) to-read (381) unread (19) war (52) WWI (193)

Common Knowledge



A brilliant read, start to finish. As in real life, the lines between villains and heroes are a bit fuzzy.
BBrookes | 43 other reviews | Dec 5, 2023 |
4.5/5. WENJACK is a heartbreaking story of an Ojibwe boy who escapes the residential school he has been forced to attend due to the government's push to culturally assimilate the indigenous people into the white man's world at the expense of losing his own heritage. I read this novella in less than an hour, but I will remember the experience for a long time. Controversy has surrounded Boyden because he is not part of the Ojibwe community. Some have criticized him for writing from that point of view. Cultural appropriation is a thorny discussion point, and I know too little to speak about it here. The book was extremely sympathetic to the Ojibwe people and their plight, so one might argue that Boyden shouldn't have been criticized. What, however, if he hadn't been empathetic? The bigger problem lies in the fact that Boyden claimed to have indigenous DNA, but solid proof is nowhere to be found. It's the opposite effect of what June did in YELLOWFACE. There, she blurred her background (with the help from her editors) to possibly seem to be Asian. Here, Boyden claimed outwardly that he had indigenous blood when the research so far shows he doesn't. All of this controversy takes away from Chanie Wenjack's story, which I feel should still be told.… (more)
crabbyabbe | 17 other reviews | Oct 1, 2023 |
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden is a novel that explores indigenous culture, family ties and identity. I found this to to a powerful story that follows two distinct POVs. The elder voice is that of Will Bird, a retired bush pilot who lies in a coma as his mind is actively going over the events that led to his condition. The younger voice belongs to Annie, Will’s niece who visits with her uncle and tells him of her journey of the past few months as she followed her missing sister’s trail to Toronto, Montreal and New York City before returning home to their small community of Moosonee near the shores of James Bay.

While the story takes us through heartbreak, mysterious disappearances, and violent confrontations what jumped out at me was the strong bond of kinship that these two characters shared. While not directly addressed, as the story advances, the plight of the indigenous people with drugs, alcohol and the death of their traditional way of life is made very clear.

Although there has been some controversy surrounding this author, I chose to simply concentrate on the story and I found it to be powerful, original and unforgettable. My only concern was that the ending seemed rather contrived but overall this was a very rewarding read.
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DeltaQueen50 | 48 other reviews | Sep 7, 2023 |
Il taglio dei capelli neri che mi arrivavano fino in vita era un simbolo dell'autorità dei wemistikoshiw, della nostra sconfitta.

Nell'oscurità della notte penso che la mia vita sia stata divisa in tre parti da questi wemistikoshiw. Prima di loro e del loro esercito c'era la mia vita, ora c'è la mia vita nel loro esercito, e, se sopravvivrò, ci sarà lamia vita dopo che l'avrò lasciato e sarò tornato a casa. Deve esserci qualcosa di magico in questo numero tre. Tu, Niska, mi hai insegnato che un giorno dovremo intraprendere tutti il viaggio di tre giorni, e ora mi chiedo se non ci sia qualche connessione tra il loro mondo e il mio.

Ci sono più anishnabe di quel che puoi immaginare su questi campi di battaglia. Vogliamo tutti tornare a essere guerrieri.

Non sempre condivisibili le 'occidentalizzazioni' del pensiero Cree di Boyden, per quel che ho visto e sentito (soprattutto non sentito) la riluttanza all'adattamento dei First Nations resta viva ancor oggi. Boyden, alla fine del libro, si ricrede e ciò che cambia va eliminato.

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NewLibrary78 | 85 other reviews | Jul 22, 2023 |



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