Jennifer (aka EM)'s Reviews > Three Day Road

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
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's review
Nov 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: war-is-hell, maple-flavoured
Read from July 07 to 14, 2013

This is two of my favourite reads: a "futility-of-war" novel by a Native Canadian writer, and with a unique Native Canadian angle.

Xavier and Elijah are Ojibwe-Cree from "the North Country" (which in this case means James Bay area) who sign up for WW I, and - because of their hunting prowess - make for excellent warriors. Niska - X's auntie - welcomes a deeply changed X home, and does what she can to help X cope with all he has seen, suffered and lost.

The novel is about killing and healing and incredible, profound, spirit-driven love. Of the boys for each other; of Niska for her would-be sons, and for X in particular. Love and bonds that are forged in one kind of trauma and tested in another kind of hell. Of a way of life that is lost to all kinds of wemistikishiw slaughter and madness; of transition between one way of life and another, physical, cultural, spiritual.

Though I am not a masochist, both types of novels - the war novel, the Native Canadian novel - cause great pain and therefore they often feel cathartic, cleansing in some way. But more: like an atonement for my privileged whiteness and the luck of the draw time and place-wise.

This idea of privilege - and how it factors into reading choices - is an interesting one to me these days (as I look at my bookshelves stacked to the brim with female authors; goodreads having made me more acutely aware of gender aspects of writing and reading).

Boyden, with his sensitivity; his writing that contains such depth of raw emotion; his male-femaleness/female-maleness (as Woolf would say) - has pride of place next to Erdrich, Thomas King and Richard Wagamese; and novels like Marlantes' Matterhorn, Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, Findley's The Wars and Wright's Meditations In Green.

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Reading Progress

07/07/2013 marked as: currently-reading
07/15/2013 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

jo just ordered this from the library.

Jennifer (aka EM) you'll probably get to it before I will!

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