Friday, October 2, 2009
This book is the current selection for our family book club, which consists of my Mom, my two sisters and my neice. We are scheduled to meet on October 18th, but due to having too many books on the go, and several to read and review, I needed to read ahead and finish it.
Three Day Road is a very heavy read. It is about two Cree Soldiers in the Canadian military during World War I, the descent into madness by one, and the power of love from an Auntie who saves the other.
This is Boyden's debut novel and is a compelling read that successfully weaves the past, present and the storylines of Xavier with Elijah during the war, and with Xavier and Niska, his Aunt, in the "present." I found I needed to be in the right frame of mind to read it, and I definately did not read it at night before sleeping! The scenes of war are brutal in their realism, and Elijah's behaviour will likely turn your stomach. But what is fascinating is how the author so masterfully and seamlessly tells the story from varying perspectives and time frames.
The story opens with Niska at the train station waiting for her nephew Elijah as she has been told that her other nephew, Xavier, has died in the war. But the gaunt and injured soldier that departs the train is not Elijah, but a morphine addicted and severely damaged Xavier who Niska then takes to her canoe for the long slow river ride back home. And on that journey we learn of all of the horrifac things Xavier has seen, done and lived through. The flashbacks to war where Elijah, although a dispicable man, becomes a hero, and Xavier his silent witness to his friend's plummet to hell. During the slow river ride Xavier is unable to eat due to his addiction, but Niska "feeds" him with many stories from her childhood and his. She nourishes him with stories of his culture, his people, and his family.
This book, though well written, was a tough read for me. It was upsetting on many levels, but I can say I'm glad I read it. During the last few weeks my family and I have been having some email discussions of our feelings about it at various points of the read, and at the very least we will be able to have some very good discussions at our Book Club Dinner in a couple of weeks.
I am now going to start reading a book about a very very cute adorable fluffy kitten named DEWEY.
Have a great day!