The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Rita Leganski, Author
Rita Leganski. Harper, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-211376-4
Book - 978-0-06-229113-4
Hardcover - 559 pages - 978-1-4104-6257-2
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-211377-1
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In her debut novel, set in 1950s New Orleans, Leganski chronicles the life of young Bonaventure Arrow, a mute child with extraordinary hearing, born to recently widowed Dancy. Although Bonaventure doesn’t speak, his inner life is filled with chatter, produced by sources ranging from other people’s emotions and thoughts to colors and inanimate objects. He can also hear the dearly departed, most notably his father, William, who was murdered shortly before Bonaventure’s birth (“He’d built up a great store of words, every one of them left unspoken, save for those telepathic talks with his father”). Bonaventure’s gift makes him keenly aware of the continued grief over William’s death that both his mother and paternal grandmother, Letice, quietly harbor in the house they share. Bonaventure thus convinces them to hire Trinidad Prefontaine as their cook, knowing that her mystical powers, which harmonize with his own, could be instrumental in freeing them from the weight of the past. Leganski’s lyrical if sometimes overwritten prose underscores the magical realism that appears throughout the novel. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Associates. (Mar.)
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