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Review: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

March 22, 2013

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Since Bonaventure Arrow was born mute to his widowed mother, his hearing is more fine tuned than most people’s.  He can hear EVERYTHING, from inanimate objects to his father who’s residing in “almost heaven.”  The only time Bonaventure has a voice is when he’s conversing with his late  father.  Bonaventure and his mother almost see his muteness as a blessing but his grandmothers think otherwise.  In fact, his paternal grandmother thinks something in her past may have caused it.  The Arrow family must make peace with their past in order to move forward.

Rita Leganski’s debut novel, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, is full of family secrets and magical realism. I enjoyed Leganski’s writing and thought her characters were wonderful.  I adored Bonaventure – he’s thoughtful and fearless and accepts his disability even when it makes it hard for him to fit in.  The secondary characters are well drawn too, and I felt I came to know all of them.

The writing and the characters weren’t enough to save this book for me, though – I struggled with the magical realism aspects of the story.  I’m sure it’s just me, though, since I’m not a fan of fantasy and generally don’t enjoy supernatural or magical elements in a story.  They’re a major part of this story, though, and that just didn’t work for me.  I read this book for She Reads and most of the participating bloggers enjoyed it more than I did – if the book interests you at all, be sure to check out their reviews.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins for She Reads.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2013 5:47 am

    I often have trouble with magical realism — yet, oddly enough, I usually love fantasy. Go figure.

  2. sandynawrot permalink
    March 22, 2013 6:29 am

    I’m right there with you, I have had issues with too much magical realism in the past. If it is subtle (Sarah Addison Allen) then I don’t mind, but I find that it detracts from the story sometimes. I still haven’t started this one…still trying to get caught up on my UCF books.

  3. March 22, 2013 6:51 am

    Like Sandy, I can do very subtle magical realism like Sarah Addison Allen but anything more and I’m distracted by my own inability to accept it. My issue – not the author’s.

  4. March 22, 2013 6:52 am

    I’d have a hard time with this type of story as well. It’s hard for me to suspend belief.

  5. March 22, 2013 10:01 am

    Ordinarily I don’t like magical realism, but this one sounds good to me!

  6. March 22, 2013 10:43 am

    Shame this one didn’t work out for you. Looks like it had a lot of potential…

  7. March 22, 2013 11:29 am

    I am not a fan of magical realism but I have this on my reader and will probably be reading it within the next few weeks. I hope it works a little better for me.

  8. March 22, 2013 11:34 am

    Bonaventure does sound like a great character, and I love books with colorful secondary characters. I struggle a little with magical realism too, though, so that does give me pause.

  9. March 22, 2013 1:53 pm

    I loved Bonaventure, but I absolutely adore magical realism. But it’s not for everyone.

  10. March 22, 2013 5:17 pm

    I loved this book, but I am a fan of the whole New Orleans/mystic thing. I really loved the way she described the things he could hear.

  11. March 22, 2013 5:36 pm

    I have been reading about this book everywhere andi love fantasy but something about it doesn’t make me rush out to read it? Not sure why…

  12. March 22, 2013 5:46 pm

    Thank you for your honest review, Kathy. Usually, I prefer just a bit of magic or magic realism.

  13. March 22, 2013 5:47 pm

    The gist of the book sounds really good, but since I’m not a magical realism either, I don’t think I’ll be reading this book.

  14. March 22, 2013 5:48 pm

    I struggle with magical realism too so I don’t think this book would work for me but it definitely sounds wonderful.

  15. March 22, 2013 6:28 pm

    I’m with you, I don’t like the supernatural in a book either.

  16. March 22, 2013 6:50 pm

    That’s too bad you didn’t enjoy it more. I’ve seen this one around and I am a fan of magical realism myself.

  17. March 22, 2013 8:57 pm

    Great review. I love MR so I’ve been contemplating this one.

  18. March 22, 2013 11:43 pm

    I have liked very few of the magic realism books that I have read, I think I kinda like Of Bees and Mist, but not sure I remember it all that well.

  19. March 23, 2013 9:17 am

    I’m sorry this book didn’t work for you, but it sounds like something I would love (give me fantasy or give me death!)

  20. booksnyc permalink
    March 23, 2013 9:27 am

    I have difficulty suspending my disbelief when I read so not sure this would work for me. Thanks for the review.

  21. March 23, 2013 2:22 pm

    The magical realism would put me off the book as well. It would have to be highly recommended for me to give it a try. Thanks for the honest review.

  22. March 24, 2013 7:02 pm

    I love magical realism but it has to really feel authentic!

  23. bookingmama permalink
    March 24, 2013 7:02 pm

    I had some issues getting into this book but eventually I liked it. Sorry that it didn’t work for you.

  24. March 25, 2013 8:53 pm

    I’m not big on books with magical realism, but this one does sound intriguing.

  25. March 26, 2013 3:13 pm

    I like magical realism, but only on the edges, this looks like way too much for me.

  26. March 28, 2013 10:29 am

    I got 100 pages into this one before giving up because it wasn’t for me either.

  27. March 28, 2013 8:04 pm

    Had to swing by to see what you thought. I love reliving this book but I had no thought of how to categorize it but never thought of magical realism.

    I do love a little magic with my read but this did not enter the category of THE NIGHT CIRCUS or THE DISCOVERY OF WITCHES which are recent faves. But I think this go further then magical realism.

    Oh well looks like you are reading some good ones, there is always the next page.

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