Book: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn’t make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance - a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.

Bonaventure's remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mere Letice, plagued by grief and long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed

I read this book at the urging (and I use that term lightly, the woman truly got sassy about this recommendation) of my sweet, book-loving mother in law. When she recommends a book, I listen. When she practically throws the book at me to read, I definitely listen! 

I was not disappointed. This book was downright interesting to read - a little special boy with super hearing is such a unique thing to read about. I loved her descriptions of how things sounded, things like earthworms and the color red, which clearly don't have sounds I can hear was truly imaginative. The magical elements dazzled me. 

I also loved the setting of southern Louisiana and New Orleans in the 1950's,  as there is just something bewitching about that time and place for magical stories. The characters are rich and well-developed, ready to walk off the pages (or Kindle screen). The way Leganski weaves together multi-generational stories in this book is very well done and easy to follow. The flashbacks don't muck up the present day story. 

The story, however, is quite bittersweet. More sweet than bitter, but with a sad tone throughout much of it. It is a tale of redemption, forgiveness, and letting go, and tales of these things will usually have a bittersweet tone. I still really enjoyed it though, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to other adults to read. 

4/5 stars. 


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