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The stories of an American Indian sniper caught up in the Great War and of his aunt, one of the last Cree Indians to live off the land, are intertwined in a mesmerising journey as they travel home over three daysThis beautiful, haunting novel begins as Niska is reunited with her nephew, Xavier, after he returns from the horrors of the First World War. As she slowly paddles her canoe on the 3-day journey to take him home, travelling through the stark but stunning landscape of Northern Canada, their respective stories emerge. Niska is the last Cree Indian woman living off the land in Canada. She recalls her memories of growing up among her kinsfolk, of trying to remain true to her ancestors and traditions in a rapidly changing world.Xavier joined the war reluctantly at the urging of his only friend, Elijah - a Cree boy raised in the reservation schools. Elijah and Xavier honed their hunting skills as snipers in the horrors of the trenches and the wastes of No-man's land. But as the war continues, they react in very different ways to the never-ending carnage around them.Niska realises that in the aftermath of war, Xavier's very soul is dying - but will the three day journey home be enough to help him find hope again?
Joseph Boyden is the author of a collection of stories. he is a regular contributor to a number of magazines in Canada. He divides his time between Ontario and Louisiana, where he teaches English at the University of New Orleans. This is his first novel.