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Publisher's Summary

Author Joseph Boyden makes his literary debut with this profound and moving Today’s Book Club pick that contemplates the lasting traumas of war.

Cree Indians and best-friends Xavier and Elijah enlist in the Canadian Army in 1915, eager to become heroes. Seasoned hunters, the men become expert snipers, but their horrifying experiences serving in World War I will leave devastating impressions on each man’s life.

©2005 Joseph Boyden (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

"Not for the squeamish reader, this is a powerful novel that takes a new angle on a popular subject, 'the war to end all wars'." (Amazon.com review)
“Friendship is riven with resentment and war is stripped of glory in this remarkable, wrenching novel, the work of a gifted storyteller.” ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    35
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    11
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    5
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    3
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    1

Performance

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    11
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read. Captivating from start to end.

This book is so well written and read aloud. It is a must for anyone who is interested in Canadian history and culture. I loved the characters and the plot development. I was hooked by the story after the first few minutes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

thoroughly enjoyable

I found this book thoroughly engaging and moving. A wonderful work of prose that I would recommend to all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Three Day Road -

I love this book, and have read it twice before. Being new to the audio book world, it was interesting to have it read to me, it made me look at the characters a bit differently. The story, following Niska and the two boys, Xavier Bird and Elijah Whiskeyjack, that went to the Great War. The story, that starts at the end and then leads you into and out of all of the characters. As Niska paddles down the river you get a feeling of calmness. You develop feelings for these characters, good and bad. You get a real feel of the ravages of war. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is also a book that gives you a different view of the Natives perspective of war. I know J. Boyden has had his share of controversy lately, but that doesn't change that he is great writer. #Audible1

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Timely Story

This Boyden novel is set in a period of around 100 years ago, just up to and through the end of the First World War. The two central characters are young Canadian Aborigines who become elite snipers in the trench warfare of the last half of the war. The story flashes back to their youth through one character's aunt, a native faithful to her Bush ancestral ways.

The young men become mentally and physically damaged as the war grinds them. Eventually only one survives, in a physically and spiritually damaged form.

Overall, the book is intense but tells a riveting story. Well worth the purchase price!

#Audible1

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An important book about the First World War

An important book about the First World War that takes you right into the trenches of that time. The narrative follows two best friends, Cree snipers named Xavier Bird and Elijah Whiskeyjack, as they fight through some legendary battles, and more poignantly, the emotional turmoil that results.

Boyden’s style of writing is beautiful, but on the whole, I did not love Three Day Road. There’s too much trench warfare, too many grisly details. It’s just not my favourite thing to read about. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to face these brutal truths and reach outside our comfort zone. It’s important to reflect on these tragedies of the past so we might learn to do things differently next time around. #Audible1

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Overall, boring book.

It was a good start and a good ending, but the journey to and from sucked. I enjoyed the parts in war, minus the jerking off, but everything else was boring.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great historical novel

Boyden plunges us into the WW1 universe with smill and research. The purpose however, is to paint the picture of two young Cree boys who enlist in the quest of adventure. The two experience the war very differently, their characters both unravelling as the war progresses. The story is supported by a return to the past, from their younger days until their enlistment.
I love Boyden's writing and the complexity of his characters and relationships. He also paints a nuanced portrait of the indigenous experience which is enlightening and original.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

heartbreaking story, beautifully told

The war was such a dark time in history, but the despair and hopelessness is amplified even more by the racism and the loneliness that comes with the realization of losing ones best friend.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

must read/listen

I loved the book, but the audio book brought the story to life. I would recommend this recording it is difficult story filled with the horrors of WWI and the damage it inflicted to the those who returned. and their families.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin
  • New Albany, OH, United States
  • 2010-08-19

What a book

Gripping tale of war and friendship. Excellent construction, very well narrated. I really recommend this book, loved it. It will bring you to tears.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael M
  • 2015-11-13

Beautifully Painful

This is my second Joseph Boyden story. the first was 'The Orenda'. Joseph has a powerful gift for drawing his audience deeply into the lives, feelings, triumphs and struggles of his characters. In each story I have been enthralled, educated, saddened and amazed. But above all I have been fully engaged in and thankful for such beautiful and powerful stories.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynda
  • Keewatin, Ontario, Canada
  • 2011-01-30

Wow - Great Listen, Powerful Story

You must read this book before you read Through Black Spruce. The story is incredible and you will not be disappointed. I loved that there was a male and female reader. Thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Autodidact
  • New York
  • 2017-10-23

narrator! terrible. one note. unlistenable

did not finish. 3 hours in couldn't take it anymore. the story sounded great. what a carp reader. self important....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • newmoon
  • 2017-01-01

What a great listen.

Heart rending but ultimately hopeful. The characters beautifully realized, setting vivid. Fantastic narration. I will listen again, but first I must rush on to Through Black Spruce.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sara Randall
  • 2015-02-21

A true Canadian Writer to be proud of.

The writing and reading make it one of those books you can't leave until it's done. Then the book hangover as you don't want to let go of these characters, these words, for awhile, as they stay close to you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah
  • 2013-07-16

Joseph Boyden, Please Write Some More

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend this book to all of my friends who like to read literary fiction. It has a good blend of storyline, character and history.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Loved both of the main characters and the shift between the perspectives.

Have you listened to any of Ruth Ann Phimister’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not sure.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many emotional (and funny) moments in this book. The first one that struck me was the aunt's trip to the train station to pick up the friend of her dead nephew when he returned from war. This is a story about healing and the power one person can have to keep another one going.

Any additional comments?

Everyone I know who has read this book has loved it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katie Roe
  • Seattle, WA USA
  • 2012-04-25

Amazing story. I couldn't stop listening

I cannot imagine not listening to this story. The reader was incredible. I truly felt like I was listening him to tell his story. He sounded like he was a Cree Indian which greatly enhanced the listening experience. The author did a wonderful job of telling a difficult story. I will remember this story for a long time.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Charlie
  • Lethbridge, AB, Canada
  • 2011-12-20

Not Bad

The author writes well and the story is interesting. Boyden takes us on a vivid journey into the lives of three Cree Canadians as they collide with the first world war. He writes very well and overall I found the story intriguing, yet at times disturbing.

The author and narrator apparently took painstaking efforts to learn how to properly pronounce the Cree words in the story. They did not however bother to learn how Canadians pronounce the word 'lieutenant' - which is rather jarring every time it comes up.

There is a fair amount of drug use (morphine) in the story and it is described in detail. At times I wanted to tell the author, "Okay I get it, he's addicted to morphine, let's move on."

I was a little disappointed with the ending.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • BearheartRaven
  • 2017-01-08

A bridge between worlds

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The Anishinaabe perspective of WWI and the continuation of the world they came from to the world they experienced was a powerful lesson in how our culture and ancestry creates the world we live in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful