Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Day Road

Three Day Road
Author: Joseph Boyden
Source: My Parents
Days to Read: 11

I really enjoyed Through Black Spruce so when Three Day Road was recommended to me I jumped at the chance to read it. I enjoyed this book even more than Through Black Spruce.

Joseph Boyden is a wonderful writer and creates characters that you feel you know very well.  Three Day Road follows the life of two Cree best friends, Xavier and Elijia.  The two boys grow up together and travel to Europe to fight in World War I. 

The story is narrated by Niska, Xavier's aunt, an old medicine woman.  The reader learns of Niska's life as a child with her people and how drastically life has changed since the fur traders arrived  on their lands.  One day Niska receives word that Elijah, her nephew Xavier's best friend, has made it home from the war. She travels from deep in the wilderness of Northern Ontario to the town to bring him home. She discovers that it is not Elijah but Xavier that has survived. While travelling back into the wilderness with his Aunt, suffering from a Morphine addiction and the loss of his leg, Xavier relives the horrors he experienced fighting for Canada in the war. He remembers how his friend Elijah changed into a mad killer who thrived in the combat environment. Niska knows she must cleanse her nephew of the evil or he will be lost forever. 

The experiences of Xavier and Elijah while in Europe are horrific and tough to read but ring true; Boyden draws from experiences of his own family during the war. As Elijah begins to sink deeper into his own morphine addiction and madness, he is balanced by Xavier's realistic outlook and the strong bond he feels for his home and his Aunt. 

Although this book is definitely heavy at times, it is a great novel and a wonderful story of Canada's contributions and sacrifices during the war. 

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