A magical debut novel from Rita Leganski, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is the tale of a mute boy whose gift of wondrous hearing reveals family secrets and forgotten voodoo lore, and exposes a murder that threatens the souls of those who love him.
Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. But he was listening, placing sound inside quiet and gaining his bearings. By the time he turns five, he can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He also hears the voice of his dead father, William Arrow, mysteriously murdered by a man known only as the Wanderer.
Exploring family relics, he opens doors to the past and finds the key to a web of secrets that both hold his family together, and threaten to tear them apart.
Set against the backdrop of 1950s New Orleans, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a magical story about the lost art of listening and a wondrous little boy who brings healing to the souls of all who love him.
"Leganski's lyrical if sometimes overwritten prose underscores the magical realism that appears throughout the novel." - Publishers Weekly
"This mystical fairy tale set in a 1950s-era Louisiana rife with religion, superstition, and tradition draws you in from the wondrous first page. Silence has never been so boundlessly eloquent." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Suffused with the mystical charm of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou, Leganski's lyrical debut novel conjures dreams of voodoo, the power of healing, and the distinction between hearing and listening. This extraordinary, evocative novel will cast a spell over fans of magical realism." - Library Journal
"A fine novel about love, loss, revenge and forgiveness that also touches on themes of race and class discrimination." - Kirkus Reviews
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Rated of 5
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
Thank you , thank you Rita Leganski for writing this wonderful and magical novel, In a week that has seen so much tragedy in so many places, involving so may people, I was sorely in need of a little magic. This novel features some wonderful people, not least little Bonaventure Arrow who cannot speak but can hear things other people cannot. The prose is like liquid, it flows fluently and freely. Yet all is not sweetness and light, it is New Orleans in the 1950's, a place of root and voodoo and hoodoo and some strange going-ons. There are family secrets, religion and sadness and one particular dark happening that will tragically effect the future. Ultimately there is a secret and once that is found there will be forgiveness and love and new chances at life. I often see authors asked what one novel did they wish they could read again for the first time. I wish I could start this one over but alas. I may have found one of the few books I can see myself reading again. One must suspend a little belief, and like the atmospheric New Orleans and quite a bit of magical realism to love this novel.
Rita Leganski holds an MA in writing and publishing and a BA in literary studies and creative writing from DePaul University. She teaches a writing workshop at DePaul's School for New Learning and was a recipient of the Arthur Weinberg Memorial Prize for a work of historical fiction.
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