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Interview with the Author

What inspired you to write Three Day Road? What is your personal relationship to the s​tory you tell in the novel?

Joseph Boyden

Having grown up the son of a man whom King George VI declared the most highly decorated medical officer in the British Empire, I was surrounded and obsessed by the complications and myth of war. My father didn't talk to his children about his experiences, but I was a reader and investigator from a very early age, finding Toronto Telegram news stories describing his exploits on the Gothic Line in Italy. It seems my dad had a penchant for rescuing wounded soldiers in the midst of enemy fire on the front line. Rummaging through our house, I also found his many medals, newspaper pictures of his returning from Europe and a parchment signed by the king himself inviting my dad to the Court of Saint James's to receive his Distinguished Service Order.

Beyond my dad's war experience, my mother's father and my father's brother both served in World War I, the first as a motorcycle dispatch rider, the second as an infantryman. I spent much of my youth on and around Georgian Bay, near both Christian Island and Parry Island reserves, and it was here my Ojibwa friends first told me the legend of Francis Pegahmagabow, the great Indian marksman of the First World War. He was an adept hunter, able to lie still for days in no-man's-land, and by war's end recorded more enemy kills than any other sniper in the Great War, or any war, for that matter. He returned to Parry Island a hero, becoming chief of the reserve. And yet very few people know of him anymore. The idea for my novel began as a combination of my own family's history combined with the myth of Francis. 1

1. Text reprinted with permission from Penguin Group (Canada).

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