Mrsgaskell's Reviews > Three Day Road

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
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's review
Dec 12, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 9-star, canadiana, library
Read in April, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Joesph Boyden is a Métis writer and this first novel of his is a fine addition to Canadian literature. The novel opens in 1919 when Niska, an old Cree medicine woman ventures into town to meet the train. One of the boys she raised in the bush is returning from the trenches of World War I. Her nephew Xavier Bird and his friend Elijah Whiskeyjack set off to war several years earlier in the spirit of adventurous boys. They were fine hunters and soon became renowned snipers. She is expecting the return of Elijah, having been notified of Xavier’s death, but it is Xavier, an amputee and morphine-addict, who returns. They begin the three day canoe trip upriver back to the remote northern bush of Ontario. This journey is also symbolic of the Cree three day journey between life and death. Sensing his emotional wounds, Niska attempts to heal Xavier by telling him stories of her life. Interspersed are Xavier’s nightmares, flashbacks to the war. The war scenes are graphic and violent but this is a beautifully written book. As the war and killing continues, Xavier and Elijah are affected differently, and this is contrasted with Niska’s recounting of the legend of the Windigo, the men who eat human flesh. Highly recommended.

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