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Niska, a female North American Indian, lives on her own in the wilderness of North Canada. The book starts with her going to collect one of two braves returning wounded from the 1914-18 war. She takes him back by canoe and during the long journey reflects on their previous life as she attempts to heal him from morphine withdrawal, appalling war memories and deep depression. It’s an extraordinary book, powerful, beautiful, deeply touching. Three days is the time it takes between dying and your spirit arriving in the North American Indian’s equivalent of heaven.
Similar this month: Victoria Hislop, John Banville.
Comparison: Ian McEwan, Pat Barker, Charles Frazier.
This beautiful, haunting novel begins as Niska is reunited with her nephew, Xavier, after he returns from the horrors of the First World War. As she slowly paddles her canoe on the 3-day journey to take him home, travelling through the stark but stunning landscape of Northern Canada, their respective stories emerge.
Niska is the last Cree Indian woman living off the land in Canada. She recalls her memories of growing up among her kinsfolk, of trying to remain true to her ancestors and traditions in a rapidly changing world.
Xavier joined the war reluctantly at the urging of his only friend, Elijah - a Cree boy raised in the reservation schools. Elijah and Xavier honed their hunting skills as snipers in the horrors of the trenches and the wastes of No-man's land. But as the war continues, they react in very different ways to the never-ending carnage around them.
Niska realises that in the aftermath of war, Xavier's very soul is dying - but will the three day journey home be enough to help him find hope again?
Publication date: 05/04/2006
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||5th April 2006|
|Publisher:||Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||First World War fiction,|
Joseph Boyden is the author of a collection of stories. he is a regular contributor to a number of magazines in Canada. He divides his time between Ontario and Louisiana, where he teaches English at the University of New Orleans.More About Joseph Boyden