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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close and personal
Linking Cree hunting stories with World War I frontline accounts would seem an odd undertaking, to say the least. The wild Canadian North with its harsh yet beautiful landscape and tough living conditions for those surviving off the land is a far cry – physically and spiritually – from the trenches and the killing fields of Ypres and the Somme. Yet, Boyden...
Published on Aug. 6 2006 by Friederike Knabe

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Bad Review
Mr. Boyden thinks himself a writer of note, as do the critics. However, on reading 'Three Day Road', it was apparent that Mr. Boyden is unable to parse a sentence, his concept of grammar is at best puerile and his lack of detail in some passages is glaringly obvious. The continuity of the storyline is extremely erratic, leaving the reader to guess where the storyline...
Published 1 month ago by ExRAF Bod


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close and personal, Aug. 6 2006
By 
Friederike Knabe "Books are funny little port... (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Day Road (Paperback)
Linking Cree hunting stories with World War I frontline accounts would seem an odd undertaking, to say the least. The wild Canadian North with its harsh yet beautiful landscape and tough living conditions for those surviving off the land is a far cry – physically and spiritually – from the trenches and the killing fields of Ypres and the Somme. Yet, Boyden has successfully merged these seemingly disparate themes through his telling of the life stories of the three protagonists: Xavier, Elijah and Niska. The two young friends, looking for adventure, joined the war effort while Niska carries on her life as the last Oji-Cree medicine woman. The story is told from different perspectives, moving backwards and forwards in time. The outcome is an engrossing narrative that interweaves the disturbing description of WWI horrors in the trenches with the rich and multifaceted recollections of the protagonists' lives and their emotions and experiences of the past.

"Taking the Three Day Road", the traditional Cree reference to dying, takes on new meaning here, both literally and spiritually. The journey home in Niska's canoe through the lush forests and on the winding river provides the backdrop to her efforts to bring one of the friends home, physically and mentally deeply wounded. Her personal recollections and stories of their past lives are set against the nightmarish dreaming of the returning soldier. Will Niska be able to soothe the mind, will the medicine be strong enough to heal him from the agony of war?

The two young Cree started out with eagerness to fight in the war, having honed their tracking and shooting skills in the bush killing animals for food and ceremony. Their very different characters emerge clearly as they leave the familiar territory. As they began their journey, their friendship helped them to complement each others strength to get through numerous challenges, such as the language barrier, their inexperience in urban and barrack life, the discrimination facing them. As their talent as trackers and snipers are increasingly recognized by their superiors, despite their prejudice against Indians, the two are sent on increasingly daring missions. Their reputation grows as they take out more enemy snipers than anybody else. Xavier and Elijah respond very differently to the pressure and violence. One hates his role on the killing fields and is retreating into himself, the other is thriving on the experience and the attention he garners. Their friendship is seriously tested and the tension between them reaches breaking point. How can they salvage the friendship that they had? How can they survive in the hell of the trenches? How do they cope with loosing their comrades and being wounded themselves? Will they be able to reconcile the upbringing on the land, guided by Niska, with the brutality of their war experiences?

Boyden is an outstanding story teller and his skill of creating realistic and lively personalities is admirable. This not only applies to the three protagonists, but also to several of their comrades and their superiors. Boyden establishes a wide-ranging portrait of the people and the extreme conditions they were exposed to during this war. It is evident that that author undertook extensive research into the intricate details of WWI war fare. It can easily stand among the best of its kind. The author adds additional depth through Niska's story, connecting the reader intimately to Cree culture and mythology. Niska's voice stays with you for a long time. Despite the topic, this is a beautifully written, memorable book. [Friederike Knabe]
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delicate yet shocking and powerful, March 1 2006
This review is from: Three Day Road (Hardcover)
That this book is written so lyrically and delicately, and yet also shocks and awes is testament to the fact that it has the stuff that classics are made of. I find this to be a regular trait of Canadian literature.
I have read numerous books depicting WWI, and while all describe its brutality and horror, few have done so to the extent that this book does. Further, WWI depictions have rarely been written from the viewpoint of the snipers, which is a very unique and interesting angle. Also, being a story told from the viewpoint of Native Canadians means that there are many mystical and surreal depictions, using smooth and sensual language.
Astoundingly well written.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift from my daughter, June 5 2005
This review is from: Three Day Road (Hardcover)
Books that come gift-wrapped always make me nervous. There's a shelf full of them in my bedroom that I'll never finish. So when my daughter gave me THREE DAY ROAD for my birthday I had that old feeling. Despite those misgivings, I picked it up a few days later, read several pages and was mesmerized. The author unfurls this story in nuanced chapters alternating points of view between an aging Cree woman and her nephew. The male story is that of an Indian off to serve in the trenches of World War I. The woman's is a decade earlier, starting with the death of her father - a medicine man. Neither character ever quite fits in the civilized world and both their stories are compelling. For a book that will undoubtably be dubbed 'literary', the pages are remarkably turnable. Almost makes turning a year older worth the candle.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Day Wonder!, March 6 2006
By 
Patricia (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Day Road (Hardcover)
It has been a while since I have read a book that has it all - the far Canadian North, the incorporation of lost tradition of our Native culture, true friendship, and family who will always be there. In short, a magical journey that is both horrifying yet beautiful. I think the closest I came to reading a book like this was Treading Water, but it did not capture the tradition and respect that the Natives had, and how these tradiitons have been lost, and the confusion of trying to live between or with two somewhat opposing cultures. A deeply respectful and powerful novel that makes you think long after you have finished reading it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm in love, Jan. 13 2011
This review is from: Three Day Road (Paperback)
The kind of book I want to read over and over and over. Classic, heart-wrenching Canadiana. I have a new favourite.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, Feb. 3 2011
This review is from: Three Day Road (Paperback)
historical fiction at its finest, told in a first nations traditional sense of storytelling. Well worth the read. I am not usually a fiction reader, but from the time i picked it up I had a hard time putting it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!, April 27 2012
By 
C. Kalangis (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Day Road (Paperback)
A beautiful gut wrenching journey that just touches you on all levels. The lives of the native people as seen through these lenses is a pure and emotional experience, when the book ends you truly feel as if you not only know and love these people and have watched these lives unfold with them. The style feels as if you are sitting with wise story tellers as they give you these lives from a view never before seen. Just beautiful! This book should be required reading in schools, it demonstrates so many facets of Canada in the First World War in such a beautiful way that one can't help but be moved.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, Jan. 7 2011
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Novel Girl (Alberta,Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Day Road (Hardcover)
This book is everything previous reviewers noted and more. There is no way to add to any review that has not already been said.
Having had this book in my collection since 2006, and only finally reading it now, I feel deprived that I had not read it sooner to experience Joseph's beautiful writing style.
A fascinating, educating and compelling read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, Horrific and Engaging Novel, Feb. 9 2007
By 
momo_adachi (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Day Road (Paperback)
This is Boyden's first book, but hopefully not his last. Boyden has a gift; a gift of placing the reader in a setting so horrific, it follows the "train wreck" pattern; it is disgusting and rich, so rich it is difficult to turn away. Boyden not only describes the sights of war, but the sounds, the smells, the tastes, so that we not only see this war, but experience it in its grotesque, vivid entirety. The war scenes in "Three Day Road" are so engaging, the book is difficult to put down, regardless of the fact that the killing, rotting bodies, fear, disgust and psychology add to the general awfulness of the atmosphere.

In addition to the war, Boyden gives the reader an honest portray of aboriginal life in early 20th century Canada. With dispicable details about the residential schools, and the effect of greed, money and alcohol on the aboriginal people. These issues are controversial and a dark spot on Canada's history, but Boyden exposes it for us, a new generation of reader and learner.

With likeable protagonists, great storytelling, strange and horrific images and brilliant tone, Boyden's "Three Day Road" is an amazing, accurate and ballsy novel that is sure to provoke any reader. This is probably one of the best books I've ever read, and I'm not a war buff, nor do I typically enjoy novels about historical events. Just fantastic on so many levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid images of Ontario's north - and WW1 in France, Dec 12 2010
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This review is from: Three Day Road (Paperback)
Having a cottage north of Algonquin Park - the scenes described in the canoe trip over the three day's travel, aptly describe the rivers, rocks, trees, and wildlife. My grandfather was a sniper in World War One and our family has a large Canadian penny with a bend in the centre where the penny in his shirt pocket had saved his life. I know he had lived in trenches, and crawled through fields...but not much was described to any of us. Written in short chapters, it is quite a tale of courage and will. Sandra
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Three Day Road
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (Paperback - May 6 2008)
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