Three Day Road
by Joseph Croyden
Category: Fiction / Historical
354 pages; ISBN: 0670034312
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Three Day Road
Viking, May 2005, $23.95, 354 pp.
World War I is over and a dying Xavier is coming home to Eastern Canada to live his last days with his beloved Auntie Niska. Morphine is the only thing that keeps the pain at bay. When he is not over-drugged he and Niska recall his childhood when she taught him how to hunt and Xavier taught his best friend and fellow vet Elijah Whiskeyjack how to hunt too. Niska wonders if her blessing the two lads enlisting in the European war was a mistake.
The trench warfare is horrendous as just a few yards away Fritz the enemy fires at the Canadians and visa versa. The conditions are terrible between the lice, lack of clean water, food rationing, and wet socks leading to trench foot when frost bite does not set in. Only morphine makes conditions palpable. Xavier and Elijah become snipers although that does not improve their conditions in hell while Elijah racks up an astounding kill rate as though he depends on morphine to numb the senses except his marksman eyes.
THREE DAY ROAD is an intriguing look at the effects of the trench warfare during World War I on Canadian Indians, who volunteered to serve. However, the story line graphically concentrates more on the atrocities and the aftermath of the war (the killing fever that Xavier suffers from, and the morphine addiction and killing frenzy that engulfs Elijah, etc.) that could have hit anyone who served On The Western Front. Though Joseph Croyden provides a deep look at the horrors of war just not enough on the impact on the Indians who fought a white man’s war nor their tribe once they came home.
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