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
"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)
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.
Gripping tale of war and friendship. Excellent construction, very well narrated. I really recommend this book, loved it. It will bring you to tears.
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.
Love to listen on my way to work!
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.
Loved both of the main characters and the shift between the perspectives.
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.
Everyone I know who has read this book has loved it!
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.
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.
So incredible that they got help getting all the pronunciation correct with the native terms. it really got me into the story. the perspective from which it's told is also one of the most amazing aspects of this novel. thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.
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.
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