Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Reader's Diary #29- Joseph Boyden: Three Day Road (up to Onahaashiwew/ Sniper)

I'm particularly enjoying the exploration of the friendship between Xavier and Elijah. It portrays their relationship through a one-sided argument to be sure (i.e., through Xavier) but honestly nonetheless. Both definitely look out for one another, care for one another and love one another- but that's not all. If we're being totally open here, they also resent one another, are envious toward one another and sometimes even deliberately hurt one another. I appreciate when an author has guts enough to show this truth about human nature and has skill (or tact) enough not to make us hate him for it.

On a side note, I'm not usually one to dwell on gender differences. However, I can understand that someone would read a book by Alice Munro and say "feminine" or would read a book by Mordecai Richler and say "masculine". Assuming that you agree with this statement, where would you place Three-Day Road on this spectrum? Personally, I think it would be somewhat neutral. It doesn't seem to me that Boyden has need (in this story) to dwell in either role unlike Richler who often seemed to use an overt masculine voice to satirize the male ideal, or Munro who often seemed to be making a point for feminist-political purposes.


Rebecca said...

I would be tempted to say that this is somewhere in between the two, since the narration goes back and forth between the Xavier and his aunt. However, the aunt lives on her own and lives off the land with little or no outside influences, and has taken on the role her father held - that of a seer or medicine woman. I'm not suggesting we call her masculine or mannish, but she is a different type of woman than you might find in an Alice Munro novel. She doesn't need to make a point about feminism or the role of women in native society, and she's not trying to say she doesn't need a man or can do these things better than any man - she just does what she needs to do, and doesn't reflect on the greater socio-political impact of her actions.

Where was I going with this? Oh yes - I think this falls in the neutral territory between Munro and Richler because it doesn't champion one sex over the other, and doesn't make a big issue about gender roles.

Unknown said...

We all agreed that this novel was a "boy book". Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Even the female character was fairly masculine- living in the bush, providing for herself, standing up for what she believes in and not succumbing to the integration that was happening around her (not that these are all solely male attributes, but you know what I mean).