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Through Black Spruce

Written by: Joseph Boyden
Narrated by: James Jenner
Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (114 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Joseph Boyden's first novel, Three Day Road, was a Today Show Book Club selection. Through Black Spruce is the exceptional follow-up to his acclaimed debut. Cree bush pilot Will Bird lies comatose in a hospital, while his wayward niece Annie arrives to sit in silent vigil by his side. Slowly their stories reveal two people previously separated by great distances, beaten and broken, and searching for some sense of where they belong in the world.
©2008 Joseph Boyden (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

"[A]n intelligent, multilayered accomplishment, and well worth reading." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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

Loved this audiobook!

I really love this audiobook. The narration was great.
The story is a simple mystery that keeps you wanted to listen until the end. But its the characters that keep you engaged throughout. This book is steeped in beautiful imagery and the characters take you with them through their journeys.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best books I've ever listened to

Excellent I couldn't do anything for days until I finished this book Read it you won't be sorry

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyed this book.

Worth the read, I seldom write reviews, this book was a good listen, well written, a bit of a mystery, entertaining from start to finish.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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True capture of culture and time change

Joseph Boyden has the amazing ability to capture the true ethnicity of the Native American culture. This book is wonderful. Boyden address how culture can dissapear from ones life however, its roots can be easily discovered again in a time if need. Joseph Boyden is a wonderful author who is a must read and/or listen.

1 person found this helpful

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This is a beautiful story of struggle and victory

loved the alternating narrative of an seasoned uncle and a brave young woman slowly filling in the tapestry of their amazing lives. Miigwetch!

1 person found this helpful

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timely statement of where we are

This is not a current novel yet it is so timely on its focus on missing and murdered Indigenous women. The story is moving, the acting/reading is so good and my desire for being in this comm in nity was more than satisfied #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

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Loved the Readers

The characters in this story we're so compelling because the readers gave them depths of personality beyond the written words

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Great story, stunning performance!!

Great story telling, told in an extremely gripping way. This is a hard one to pause. The flow of the story is excellent.
And, the performance is perfect. You always feel like this is really their story, that they are living every moment of the events.
Highly recommended.

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Excellent

Beautifully written and excellent narration. I loved this book, I love all stories by Joseph Boyden. More more more! Thank you!

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Quite good

This is not the type of book I would normally listen to, however I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well written and well performed!

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Timothy, Toronto, ON.
  • 2009-09-01

A writer to watch

This is a really fine book. Having read Boyden's previous book, Three Day Road, I wondered how the narrator would handle the "Cree English' dialogue that makes Boyden's writing so authentic. He got it right, in my opinion.
Both of his books have changed, forever, my understanding of the impact of European settlement on First Nation's people, without feeling that I was being preached to. Joseph Boyden is one talented writer.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth
  • 2009-05-24

A pleasure to listen to

The author acknowledges native life, and its shortcomings, but it doesn't own his characters, or the book.
Very realistic wilderness scenarios, not tidy, nor idyllic.
Exceptionally well read, wonderful parallels between predators in the many worlds inhabited by the characters.
Would love to listen to Boyden's first book " Three Day Road"

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 2009-07-08

Great Listen

A slow start to this listen had me close to moving on to another book. I am glad to stick it out as the book slowly grabbed and held me more and more the longer I listened.

Two great narrators, and a great blend of characters and plot that leaves you guessing what will happen. I connected with many of the characters.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynda
  • 2011-01-30

Absolutely Great Book

Loved this book. Especially liked that there is a male and female reader. You would not be disappointed with this book. I looked forward to my walks each day so I could continue with the story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dianne Dul
  • 2016-12-19

Through Black Spruce

The nook was interesting to listen to.i would recommend it to family and friends for their listening pleasure.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 2012-03-16

Poor choice of Narrator for a good book

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The people who were chosen to read this book were all wrong. They make this book boring.

What did you like best about this story?

The insight into the everyday life of First Nations people.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

A Cree or Ojibwa person would have been a much better choice. The narrator's that have been chosen drains the life from this story.

Was Through Black Spruce worth the listening time?

I could not get through the entire book. The narration was too sterile.

Any additional comments?

This is a good book. Black Spruce depicts some aspects of the culture and themes that are important to Cree and Ojibwa today.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Melinda
  • 2011-03-08

Engaging story and effective narrators

I found the story slow at the beginning, but it really picked up after several chapters and was worth sticking with. The two narrators do a good job of portraying Annie and her uncle, Will. There's a lot to think about in this novel: the traditional vs. the modern; the city vs. the wilderness; solitude vs. community and friendship; aboriginal vs. non-aboriginal culture. It's an entertaining but meaty listen/read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Adam
  • 2009-05-27

Amazing Read

This is an amazing book. I found myself torn between pity and amazement at the Cree characters as they go from onlookers to participants in a drug ring much larger than they had ever realized. The "Indian Princess" goes to NYC to find her sister, the Bush Pilot uncle murders the ring leader and has to hide on an desolate island. Definitely a great listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • T. Seidler
  • 2020-04-09

A window into a parallel culture.

I was swept into the conscious minds of both the lead characters. The extended family ties, family concerns and the real business of survival in both cultural worlds are gently displayed in the unfolding events. Previous happenings in the family become the listeners memories, as they drift across the minds of the characters. This gives a rich background for the interesting plots in the story.
In all, a finely crafted view into genuine people, living lives, within their culture, and their challenges in thier world and the external culture. Survival and resilience. Respect!

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  • Gary
  • 2017-12-28

Set aside the author controversy

Putting aside the controversy over the author's native heritage (or lack thereof) this is a beautifully written book with a compelling story and fascinating characters.