Three Day Road: A great Canadian novel
December 4, 2009 5 Comments
I’m happy that “Three Day Road” by Joseph Boyden is the first of my many book reviews on this blog. I’m generally not into the whole ‘Canadian history’ genre, but I was referred to this book on Twitter. It looked relatively interesting and the next time I went to Chapters, I decided I’d pick it up. After reading this one, I’m ready to explore the genre a little more.
It tells the story of Xavier, a Cree from Moose Factory, and his experiences with his lifelong friend Elijah, in the First World War fighting for Canada against Germany, or ‘Fritz’ as it’s soldiers so often referred to. The book also chronicles the journey of Xavier’s Aunt Niska, an Oji-Cree medicine woman who shunned the residential school life as a child and returned to ‘the bush’ to live the only way she knows how, as a “bush Indian” in Northern Ontario.
I really enjoyed the parallel stories. Each character’s story had left me wanting more whenever they switched. I was eager to know how Xavier was handling the war and his issues with Elijah. The same eagerness followed me while reading Niska’s story, and her issues of living alone and dealing with a world that was far different from that of her childhood.
Boyden was originally going to write the novel chronologically. He explains in the Q&A at the end of the book, his reasoning for the parrallel storyline/jumps in time.
“I thought about what is important to the Cree and Ojibwe. Life evolves around a circle,” he answered. “And so I decided to begin this story near the chronoligical end and then trace through the circle around to where I started.”
Strangely no criticism is coming to me for this book. There’s usually something that gets to me, but not this time.
I give “Three Day Road” a 5/5.
If you’ve read this book please let me know what you thought of it!