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. – Goodreads
Bonaventure Arrow is born into tragedy, and grows up unknowingly destined to lift the cloud that has settled over his family. There’s his mother, Dancy, who struggles against the bitterness and anger that come of losing her husband when their life together had only just begun. And there’s Grandma Letice, Bonaventure’s paternal grandmother who has turned to her Catholic faith to assuage the creeping guilt that is choking her heart.
The two women, who hardly knew each other when William Arrow was shot, cling to each other’s grief and help one another get through each day. They are united not only by their grief over William’s death, but also by their love and utter devotion to young Bonaventure, whose well-being is the only thing more important to them. Each woman has her own way of dealing with William’s death, and must overcome her own conviction that they were to blame.
There is another resident in Bonaventure’s home – William’s ghost. He watches over his family, and Bonaventure’s extraordinary gift allows him to hear his father’s voice from across the divide between reality and “almost heaven.” William’s presence leads Bonaventure to secrets long buried, that must be put to rest before everyone in the family – including William – can move on.
This story is full of secrets, and everything (and everyone) is connected. It’s not always a happy story, but it is always full of hope and the magic of Bonaventure Arrow.
You can’t help but love Bonaventure. He’s a bright, inquisitive young boy who, despite having no voice of his own, manages to show us a world full of magic and beauty.
I absolutely adored this book. I loved how it was written, I loved that it slowly unfurled its story and took its time introducing us to the characters. I loved the magical realism and the sense of endless possibility. This may be Leganski’s debut novel, but it speaks to a life-long love of storytelling. This is one of my top reads of the year, and one I’d happily recommend to… well, pretty much everyone.
Author: Rita Leganski
Published By: Harper
Released: Feb. 26, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism
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