Review: The Silence (and Noise) of Bonaventure Arrow

Bonaventure ArrowThe Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is one of Harper Collins’ top picks for the season. And for good reason.

Reminiscent of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Bonaventure is a boy born with an extraordinary ability.  We learn about him and his special gift from conception to birth and throughout the first years of his life In Bayou Cymbeline, a suburb of Louisiana, in the 1950s.  What’s most important about this story is not necessarily the boy himself, but the adults around him. The story unravels the characters’ histories – their memories, past choices, and regrets that are revealed alongside Bonaventure’s upbringing where we slowly learn his important role in their lives.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a beautiful and sentimental journey, dealing with pivotal life moments that have the ability to change the course of your life.  Love, death, marriage, pregnancy, faith, and the loss of faith, it is about navigating all sorts of tragedy and joy and how that layering of emotions eventually becomes the person you are today.

The writing is very lovely throughout and Bonaventure, whose ears are tuned into more than earthly sounds, can virtually hear the planets spin and objects cry out with the memories that have attached themselves to them. Everything speaks to him

Like an intuitive sense, Bonaventure’s hearing allows him inside the deepest kept secrets of his family.

in some way or another. The story is so rich with detail and description it would be easy to go overboard, yet first-time author Rita Leganski manages to avoid over-elaboration, save for a few scenes, and is very successful in transporting you to another time, another place, and another world with her story.  While Bonaventure navigates his own life (and discovers what it means to be different from his peers) he remains a vessel that absorbs the secrets of those around him without necessarily knowing their meaning or implication.  Like an intuitive sense, his hearing allows him inside the deepest kept secrets of his family.  There are interesting twists and revelations in the story that are perfectly paced so that we get just enough information to propel the story forward, while still creating an air of mystery. Forgiveness and healing are big themes in Bonaventure Arrow. And that kind of undertaking takes an awful lot of time and patience. We’re able to learn, in the form of vignette-like chapters, everyone’s past and how their experience has lead them to the present day. It is unmistakably clear who Leganski paints as the villains and the heroes in the novel, and though some instances (sometimes) approach moralizing territory, the overall mood of the novel is a grand and magical one. Spanning the first 7 years of Bonaventure’s life and countless before, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a beautiful and heartbreaking life journey through silence and noise that will leave you rapt with empathy. 

The Silence of Bonventure Arrow is my first vlog review for the Chex 5 O’Clock Show where I will be acting as Book Stylist for the beautiful souls of the Peterborough area! You can watch me tonight (Wednesday March 20th) or check out the link!


2 thoughts on “Review: The Silence (and Noise) of Bonaventure Arrow

  1. This was an interesting-sounding book and I like your review. I do disagree somewhat, though. The mother and wife’s coming to grips with their son/husband’s death was engaging, but I never got how Bonaventure’s silence/hearing played into their transformations. Bonaventure’s specialties seemed like an aside rather than a moving force. I also thought the long family histories for each character were unnecessary. Good job, though, Stylist. Keep it up.

    • Hi Kenneth! I’m a total sucker for backstory, but I see what you mean by B’s storyline. It did seem a little separated at times.
      Thanks for reading!

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