I have yet to read a novel by Joseph Boyden which has not amazed me. He is an incredible writer, and Three Day Road is an incredible, heart-wrenching book. It’s loosely tied to Through Black Spruce and The Orenda in that all three focus on a generation of the Bird family, but each stands magnificently on its own and personally I’d say you could read them in whatever order you wish. With as much time between them as you need; I’ve found them all to be emotionally demanding books. Bloodshed and violence are frequent, as one would expect for the periods and subjects chosen. Gore is written precisely, but without relish. Boyden includes it because it’s a part of the lives of his characters, but he’s not going to revel in it. Which is something I appreciate. The brutality seems to intensify as Three Day Road progresses; bombings and gunfire and all the horrors of war crowding into the last chapters as if they’re afraid there won’t be room for them before the book ends. Fortunately, Boyden intersperses the chapters of the war with chapters of childhood memories related by other characters. This helps alleviate the pressure from the constant devastation. Each character is expertly crafted. Unique, dimensional, and complex. It felt as though I knew the characters personally by the time I turned the last page. As if each of them had spoken to me a small segment of their life story. As painful as portions of this book were to read, I didn’t want it to end.
I’m telling you, everything Boyden writes is gold.