Three Day Road

Feb 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 17-3: Heroes of Today, Media Reviews

THREE DAY ROAD COVERby Joseph Boyden
Viking Press, New York, New York
354 pgs
ISBN 0-670-03431-2
$32.00

Review by Holly Ristau

“Three Day Road” is the phrase the Cree use to describe the journey following death. Xavier Bird and Elijah Whiskeyjack are two Cree men who join the Canadian armed forces together to fight in World War I.

They are sent overseas and only one returns, addicted to morphine and ready to die. Niska, an Oji-Cree medicine woman and the aunt to one of the boys, goes down to the city to pick up the soldier and to paddle the 3-day trip home. The soldier relives his life and the horror of the war as he wavers in and out of morphine dreams, while Niska tries to bring him back with stories of her life.

The book superimposes the traditional childhood of Niska with the boys’ time in a residential school and the totally foreign culture of war. This amazing work of fiction belongs in every library.

Holly Ristau is the librarian for Mahnomen Public Schools and the White Earth Tribal and Community College library in Mahnomen, MN.

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