This book is truely an original story. I read it for my bookclub and didn't look forward to it. However it drew me in. It showed me images I couldn't have imagined.
wow. I reserve "5 stars" for my 20 favorite books, but I had to make an exception - this was outstanding.
WW I, history, culture, memorable characters, I did not put this down. Check the reviews in amazon for more details then if you are at all interested in the story, read it.
WWI is depicted in all its tragedy and horror by Xavier Bird, a Cree who volunteers for the Canadian army with his best friend, Elijah Whiskeyjack. The two young men greet war and death in different ways which reminds the reader of how people cope with chaos and terror. The other narrator is Niska, Xavier's aunt whose only living relative is himself. We see Niska living the traditional Cree life. She has visions which help her understand the future, lives alone in the bush, hunts and gathers as the Cree have traditionally lived. The story begins when she picks up her nephew as he returns from the war, wounded and addicted to morphine. The tale is told primarily through flashbacks of the war by Xavier.
Reading this book is like being there. Both young men are sharp shooters, a skill they attained through their days living and hunting in the bush. The contrast of the Cree life with that of others is well told. I felt as if I was walking through the trenches with Xavier, trying to understand why men go to war and why people must die so tragically. This book about WWI is among the best I've read. It touches on many all too real themes from culture contrast to the psychological effects on different personalities. It's a read one should not miss.