A book that all Canadians should be proud to read : Canada Reads and Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road

Lang, Anouk (2012) A book that all Canadians should be proud to read : Canada Reads and Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road. Canadian Literature, 215. 120 - 136. ISSN 0008-4360

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Abstract

This paper analyses the reception of Joseph Boyden’s novel Three Day Road by examining the responses of readers who wrote into the CBC about the novel when it featured on Canada Reads in 2006, and contrasting these to the critiques of several of the panellists who pointed to the novel's representational shortcomings. It explores how the pleasure and nationalist pride articulated by these readers – for whom critiques of the book produced extremely negative reactions – can be linked to reading practices observed by critics in other middlebrow reading contexts such as book clubs, in which representations of cultural others are enthusiastically consumed in order to enhance one’s multicultural capital. It argues that these kind of interpretive practices can neutralize unsettling questions that a text such as Boyden's raises about the representation of First Nations peoples and the shortcomings of Canadian historiography.