This novel is relevant because it is about a war that shaped our history, but also because it is about the personal toll war takes. Today, many people return from war feeling alienated and confused, just as the characters do in Three Day Road.
Xavier feels a real sense of loss as a result of his experiences in the war. He returns home with his aunt Niska, who is shocked at how he seems to be an empty shell. She describes him as a “ghost” of her nephew.
When he is off the steps I begin to back away, thinking it is not him. He looks up and I see his face, thin and pale, high cheekbones, and ears sticking out from beneath his hat. (p. 6)
Each shares surprise at the thought that the other is alive. Xavier is so broken that Niska has to try to put him back together. Today, many family members face this same situation. Soldiers return having seen and done terrible things, and the family has to pick up the pieces.