Darryl Mexic's Reviews > Three Day Road

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
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Jan 26, 2011

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Read in October, 2010

“Three Day Road”, by Joseph Boyden is a story about Xavier Bird and Elijah Whiskeyjack, two Cree native north Americans from upper parts of Ontario province, and their misshapen lives during World War I. Xavier was brought up by his aunt as a bush Indian, living off the land, away from civilization, except for a brief stint in a Toronto school run by nuns. Elijah spent many years in such a school and was fluent in English and much better understood the ways of the white man. Elijah eventually ran away from school to live with Xavier and his aunt and the two boys became great friends. They enlisted in the Canadian army to fight in the historically unreasoned World War. The book goes into some detail about the miserable trench warfare engaged in by the two sides, where the manner of conducting the war was designed for maximum numbers of soldiers dying by being blown to bits or from diseases, and where the real villains were the officers on both sides. The two Cree Indians, being great hunters, became invaluable snipers for the Allies. However, Xavier and Elijah drifted in opposite directions; Xavier felt the revulsion of so much killing, whereas Elijah reveled in it and could not do without it. Between his love of killing and his constant self injections of morphine, he became a monster in the eyes of Xavier, who could not allow it to continue. The book begins where Xavier returns from the war, with one missing leg, misery, and a morphine habit, and is taken by his aunt on a canoe journey back to their home. It is during this trip that Xavier narrates the story of his and Elijah’s involvement in the war, leaving the reader guessing until the end what happened to him and Elijah.
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