THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW by Rita Leganski took me by surprise as it captured me in its magical embrace. I had no clue what this book was about from its title, ABSOLUTELY NONE! And as I try very hard to steer clear of hints of any kind prior to reading any book, my reading world was soon glowing from Leganski’s haunting debut novel.
This is the March selection from She Reads Book Club and I admit I would never have found it without our savvy leaders. Just another example of how many book treasures there are and how lucky I feel to be apart of this on-line reading community.
A baby was born, Bonaventure Arrow, at a time of unthinkable tragedy and yet he brought a special light and wisdom to this devastated family. His name was no coincidence, Saint Bonaventure was from the thirteenth-century saint and just happened to be a mystic.
Bonaventure was no ordinary child, while he could not speak he was gifted with acute hearing. And his hearing was not just restricted to people, he heard nature, shadows and even voices from a different time. Mostly this made his world enlightened but sometimes the sounds were unbearable and scary.
His grandmother’s are women of strong faith. His maternal grandmother Adelaide Roman is over the top and not very nice as we learn more about her. She finds salvation and something else in her church. She has secrets of her own and a strained relationship with Bonaventure.
Grand-mere Letice has suffered the loss of her husband, her son and it seems a secret devastating loss so long ago. She invites her pregnant daughter in law to live with her in her large home on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline. She too had a strong faith and even a chapel in her home.
Dancy Arrow is Bonaventure’s mom, she is beautiful and numb when he first comes into the world. Eventually Bonaventure brings her back to life perhaps because he is different and needs her. Her very special boy is everything to her and yet she is haunted by her sadness.
The deceased father, husband and son William has a special role for someone who has been knocked off right away. Bonaventure is able to hear his dad and their time together is charming and helps to guide Bonaventure. William knows that he needs his boy to help him and those that he loves move forward.
Trinadad Prefontaine is a peripheral character for a while until she takes a leading role when she joins this household. She is a Knower and receives visions as well. Trinadad was different but did not know what its purpose until she follows the call to set out and arrives in Bayou Cymbaline. Once she is there she knows that being close to Bonaventure is exactly where she was supposed to be.
There are other characters of note as well in THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW without them it would not have its layers. The Silveys help Grand-mere Letice, The Wanderer, Eugenia, Gabe, Brother Eacomb and Tate have important supporting roles to play. And I loved learning about the difference between Voodoo and Hoodoo and lets not forget the gris-gris.
I could go on and on but I fear I have already given away more than is my usual custom. Forgive me as I am under the spell of THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW and still caught up in its magic.
THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW delivers pieces of itself that yield love, innocence, grief, secrets, redemption, forgiveness, spirituality and death. It can shift from whimsical and light to dark and secretive in a snap and then back again. Thank you Rita Leganski this was an amazing and wondrous novel that I adored.
THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW is a March Indie First pick and I have no doubt will land on other lists as well. Bravo Rita Leganski what an amazing first novel you gave us! Brad and Angelina, this novel would be just right for the big screen and coincidentally New Orleans, your adopted home, would be perfect place to shoot it.