Friday, August 1, 2014

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Meeting Details... we are meeting at Erica's on Thursday, August 14th at 7:30 pm.  Discussion to begin at 8pm.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Did you like the book? If so, what was your favourite part? If not, why not?
  2. Why does Joseph Boyden use two narrators to tell the story of Three Day Road? What effects does he create by interweaving Niska's and Xavier's narratives?
  3. Niska tells Xavier about the stories her father told her family. "Sometimes his stories were all that we had to keep us alive" (p. 33). What role do stories play within the novel?
  4. Why does Niska spend so much time telling Xavier stories of the past? Why does she say that she "feeds" him stories? What effect do her stories have on him?
  5. Early in the novel, Thompson asks Elijah if he likes combat and killing, to which Elijah responds: "It's in my blood." But Thompson doesn't ask Xavier, who thinks: "Does he sense something? How am I different?" (p. 69). How is Xavier different from Elijah? How do they each feel about combat and killing? In what ways are they alike?
  6. Elijah has a dream in which three of his dead fellow soldiers tell him: "Do what you can. There is nothing sacred any more in a place such as this. Don't fight it. Do what you can" (p. 261). How does Elijah interpret this? Are these spirits right in suggesting that in war nothing is sacred and that a soldier should do whatever he can–even if it involves killing innocent people–to survive and win?
  7. In what ways is it significant that Xavier and Elijah are Cree? How do their fellow soldiers perceive them? What aspects of their traditional ways of life affect how they perform during the war?
  8. How does Niska begin to cure Xavier of his despair and morphine addiction? What does this cure suggest about the difference between Native Canadian and Western views of medicine and healing?
  9. Niska has the gift of receiving visions. What do her visions reveal to her? How do they guide her?
  10. What does the novel as a whole say about war and what it can do to those who must kill in war? How are Elijah and Xavier changed, physically and spiritually, by their experiences in war?
  11. In what ways is Three Day Road relevant to our own time and circumstance?
  12. Did anything that happened or was said in the book stick with you?
  13. Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?
Native American Menu:  Sign up in the comments, please!

* bannock or fry bread
* corn on the cob
* fish
* soup or stew
* fresh berries or another dessert of your choice

There are lots of easy Native American recipes on this website:

PS.  If you have a Library Kit copy of the book, be sure to bring it along.  If you are not able to attend the meeting, please make arrangements directly with Karen about returning the book.


  1. It doesn't look like many people can make it on Thursday - I'll take care of dessert, in addition to the drinks.

  2. That comment was from Erica - don't know why it didn't register as that!

  3. I will be there, but I will be late (I'm going to guess between 8 and 8:30)

  4. If I can, I'll do some type of bannock or frybread. Maybe with a dip of some kind...


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