Book Review: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
by Rita Leganski
You will enjoy this book if you are a fan of magical realism. If you prefer cold hard facts, maybe not so much.
Given the title, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, I don’t think I’m giving away too much when I say the main character does not speak, or at least not with words. Voiceless, he uses other means to communicate deeply with people (alive or dead) and with nature and the universe.
Rita Leganski creates a charming character in Bonaventure Arrow. Because he doesn’t speak, Leganski can’t use traditional dialogue to convey his insights and emotions. She uses head nods, gestures, and thoughts in a way that I feared might get tedious and annoying after a while, but it never did.
The mystical New Orleans setting matches the mystical nature of the story. Leganski brings in Southern Baptist tent revivals, Roman Catholic rituals, Voodoo curses, and Hoodoo charms to add spicy twists to her narrative.
Occasionally, just very occasionally, the stilted dialogue of Bonaventure’s mother, Dancy, did not ring true to me. Dialogue is not Leganski’s strong suit as a writer. Her strength is beautiful, descriptive narrative that captures the essence of a thing.
“Dancy did not know of Gabe’s feelings, but Bonaventure could hear them and he thought they sounded like a pearl that forms in concentric layers of kindness to protect a helpless oyster from a hurtful grain of sand.”
Fortunately, since Bonaventure doesn’t speak, dialogue is not a prominent feature of the book, so the dreamy story flows.
Leganski gives us plenty to think about: life after death, different ways to perceive the unspoken, the benefits and dangers of religion, the need for forgiveness (or not), acceptance of differences, and the poison of guilt, revenge and loneliness.
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow received unanimous approval from the members of my book club: fans of magical realism all.
Posted on April 1, 2015, in Book Club, Book reviews, Books for the beach, Books I bought, Fiction, HarperCollins, Spirituality and tagged magical realism, Rita Leganski. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.