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Through Black Spruce | [Joseph Boyden]

Through Black Spruce

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.
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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 Rating

4.2 (56 )
5 star
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Overall
4.3 (26 )
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Story
4.3 (26 )
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 (11)
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Performance
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  •  
    Ruth Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada 05-24-09
    Ruth Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada 05-24-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
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    86
    11
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    2
    8
    Overall
    "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 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Burlington, Ontario, Canada 09-01-09
    Timothy Burlington, Ontario, Canada 09-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    11
    9
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    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Charlottesville, VA, USA 07-08-09
    Daniel Charlottesville, VA, USA 07-08-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    135
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    18
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    3
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    Overall
    "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 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Vancouver, BC, Canada 03-16-12
    Thomas Vancouver, BC, Canada 03-16-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    10
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    "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 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Prince George, BC, Canada 03-08-11
    Melinda Prince George, BC, Canada 03-08-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    12
    8
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    "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 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynda Keewatin, Ontario, Canada 01-30-11
    Lynda Keewatin, Ontario, Canada 01-30-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam SPRINGFIELD, MA, USA 05-27-09
    Adam SPRINGFIELD, MA, USA 05-27-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    9
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    "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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jpontius 02-15-10
    Jpontius 02-15-10 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    2
    Overall
    "Fantastic Listen"

    A great combination of thriller and Naive American tale. It starts a bit slow but then takes off. Wonderful characters reflecting a broad spectrum of Native Cree life from town to city to the bush.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results
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  • Jill
    DubaiUnited Arab Emirates
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "Nothing but praise"

    This is a powerful story of family ties, betrayal, enduring love, and unfathomable hope. Boyden portrays the vast northern wilderness, the conflict between 'progress' and 'the old ways', the attitudes of the young, and the battlefield of drink and drug abuse with a compassion that brings tears to one's eyes. He writes beautifully.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results

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