A review written by Shellie.
Shellie’s quick take:
A lyrical, sadly sweet, yet redemptive novel which has magical realism at its heart. It will make most readers shed tears throughout its reading. It did for me.
Shellie’s description: Set primarily during the late 1940’s through the 50’s in a small Bayou town near New Orleans, the book’s main character, Bonaventure Arrow, his mother and paternal grandmother live in their wealthy home with its own chapel. Bonaventure’s a smart little boy that doesn’t speak a word, but it’s his amazing gift, an ability to hear impossibly subtle things, that in part gives this novel its magical realism quality.
The heartbreaking part of the story is that the main characters have lost a well-loved family member who, although good natured, is haunting them. Most of these characters are damaged, including the entity himself, who feels responsible for their pain; this is keeping the ghost in his worldly limbo as he tries to direct them. In the end it’s a Creole house-keeper (who has a touch of the sight) and Bonaventure himself who pull the story together, revealing the mysterious reasons for the deeper afflictions of their family and helping with its ultimate healing.
Shellie’s thoughts: All at once complex, perfectly interwoven and poetic, this is a wonderful novel that I read quickly. I liked that the author broke the text down into short chapters showing the perspective of each of the characters, creating a book that is easy to pick up and read for short periods. I also liked that all the characters are well developed and likeable, except for a multi-layered protagonist that most readers will love to hate - which is exactly as it should be.
Although I enjoyed this easy-to-read novel and mostly got lost in it, I do want to mention a couple of things that may bother some readers. Firstly, the author’s descriptions are nicely done but there are a lot of them, especially when it comes to the main character’s ability to hear very delicate and impossible things – so I did do some skimming. The second thing that registered for me was that I felt that there was a slight religious agenda imbued in the novel’s pages. However, with that said, Catholic readers will probably enjoy this novel a lot.
Don’t let my small complaints deter you in reading The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow. It’s recommended for women readers who enjoy magical realism, those who like a Southern setting and flavor, those who don’t mind quite a few tears, those wanting a mild religious feel to their reads, and anyone who likes in-depth poetic descriptions in their novels. I give this lyrical and sweet novel a 4 stars.
Harper Paperbacks; (February 26, 2013) 400 pages.
About the author: 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.
You can find more information about her on her Facebook page .
This book is part of a book tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For more opinions about The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow link to the tour’s schedule.