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The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  3,324 ratings  ·  687 reviews
Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn’t make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance - a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Harper Paperbacks
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Seduction by M.J. RoseThe Aviator's Wife by Melanie BenjaminThe Firebird by Susanna KearsleyThe Midwife's Tale by Sam   ThomasThe White Princess by Philippa Gregory
Historical Fiction 2013
137th out of 586 books — 2,377 voters
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita LeganskiWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy FowlerA Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony MarraThe Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesTransAtlantic by Colum McCann
Best Non-YA Books of 2013
1st out of 5 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Will Byrnes
(UPDATED - 7/11/13 - see link at bottom)

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
 William Faulkner
It is this notion, of the past steering the present away from a true course, that drives the narrative in The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, and in at least one way, it is the past that helps steer it back onto the road.

If you liked Edgar Sawtelle, the story or film of Benjamin Button, the TV show Pushing Daisies or the more imaginary tales of Alice Hoffman, you will love this book, a tale imbue
...more
☔Diane S.
Thank you , thank you Rita Leganski for writing this wonderful and magical novel, In a week that has seen so much tragedy in so many places, involving so may people, I was sorely in need of a little magic. This novel features some wonderful people, not least little Bonaventure Arrow who cannot speak but can hear things other people cannot. The prose is like liquid, it flows fluently and freely. Yet all is not sweetness and light, it is New Orleans in the 1950's, a place of root and voodoo and ho ...more
Miki
This novel was absolutely fantastic. It took me quite some time to get over the fact that this book had ended. I did not want to leave the world that Rita Leganski had created in this novel. The story within these pages sucked me in from the first page and it almost hurt me to close the back cover at the end. This was one of those novels that is so well written, I had to read parts out loud to release the beauty of the language into the world. Not only is Bonaventure's world magical, but so is t ...more
Greg
Know what you're getting into: This is soooooper sentimental. Like a Frank Capra directing The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry from a screenplay by Paolo Coelho, starring Michael Landon, with a soundtrack by Andrew LLoyd Webber level of sentimentality. Rita Leganski has built a sentimentality amplifier that "goes to 11".

That being said, this is a great read. The prose is beautiful and the characters are surprisingly real for a story that involves voodoo, ghosts, and super hearing. Leganski's s
...more
Book Concierge
2.5**

Before he is born, Bonaventure Arrow’s father is murdered by a mentally disturbed man known only as “the Wanderer.” His mother’s unspeakable grief affects Bonaventure’s development – he is born mute, but with hyper-acute hearing. He can hear earthworms moving through the dirt and a bit of dust falling off a moth’s wing. He can also hear the stories that inanimate objects tell – the sound of steamships comes from a wooden crate marked “port of New Orleans,” and the sounds of gunshots from a
...more
Harpercollins Canada
I read a lot of books but rarely do I read one that reminds me of why I love to read. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow has all the hallmarks of great storytelling but what makes it so special is the feeling it evokes with the reader. Yes, you will love the language, the characters, and the twists, but most of all you will love the experience of reading this book. In her luminous first novel, author Rita Leganski has hooked me for life. More, please!
~ Vikki

To read what Shannon, Kaitlyn and Suman
...more
Ashley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori
I won this book from GoodReads!
Wow, I loved this book. Although there wasn't a lot of dialogue, this book spoke to me so loudly and clearly that it was hard to put down. I hope this wasn't Ms. Leganski's first book as I need to read more of her.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
What a wonderful read! Just marvelous! It comes out in February so promise to watch for it!
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Okay book, I'm pretty sure it was me and not you. Listen, I saw you and you were beautiful, and I wanted you right away. I couldn't resist your allure, your magical realism. I had to have you in my life. Now, though, I realize that I should have gotten to know you better first, before we committed to one another in any meaningful way. You really are beautiful inside and out, but just not in a way I can fully appreciate.

What I can say is that the writing in The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is bea
...more
Laura
2.5 stars. Many of my friends here loved this book, but it just did not work for me. I think mainly for two reasons: The audio performance was terrible. Here we have a book that is honey sweet much of the time. Add to that a narrator who poured more syrup on.....in a sickeningly sweet fashion....throughout, and what you have is a recipe for a very sick stomach. And you know what happens when that occurs! Let me tell ya, it's not pretty. I'm going to call Audible in a few minutes and return this ...more
Tania
Sep 12, 2014 Tania rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tania by: sonja, sam
A spirit moved among them, and watched them and loved them. It was the love that disquieted her, for it was the kind of love that doesn't know when to leave itself to memory.


3.5 stars. I enjoy magical realism, so I liked this story. I especially appreciated the beautiful descriptions about Bonaventure's silence. I loved the stories everyday objects shared with him. It was very special getting to know a character from the moment of conception. That rarely happens in any book, and as I mom it make
...more
Rosanna
Mar 02, 2015 Rosanna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rosanna by: M. ~ B&B
Shelves: historical, fiction
Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I have no words.
Marjorie Bowman
I would give 10 stars. This is a gem. You are allowed to see the story unfold, learning the secrets before the characters do. Lovely relationships and interesting plot developments. And a big plus is that you know it has to end well, because the bad stuff happens at the beginning. I cannot recommend this book more highly. Wonderful respite from the nightly news.
Ashi
I absolutely adore this book! I received this in the mail just a few days ago (won it in a Goodreads giveaway) and started reading it immediately. It's a fun, heartwarming read with delightful writing. Absolutely loved it.
Victoria
Books that break the adage of “Show, Don’t Tell” rarely work. But, somehow this massive amount of telling, coupled with little actual showing, works wonderfully well here! This debut novel which is steeped in magical realism in a rich, Louisiana setting provides a charmingly entertaining read. The Southern flair and hints of magic function impressively well to make this book such an absorbing read. That Southern setting and flair is all the more impressive considering the author currently reside ...more
Julie
I LOVE this book. It is a darling lyrical gem of beautiful language and gentle philosophy about how the characters deal with the currents in their lives. I remember thinking that the author must have had so much fun coming up with images for the things Bonaventure could hear. I am so glad I listened to the audible version; the narrator, Maggi-Meg Reed, was perfect and found distinct voices for the characters. I wish they had cast her to read the Hunger Games trilogy. I am adding this one to my f ...more
Laurie Gibson
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is now officially one of my all-time favorite books. A well-written book of magical realism with fully-fleshed out characters, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a tale of forgiveness and healing centered around a boy who does not speak but has the most incredible gift of hearing.
Sue
I absolutely loved this novel. Oh my golly. It is magical, sad, sweet, and full of so much wonderfulness that I can't describe it. Definitely for fans of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen.
Luanne Ollivier
I've been hearing things - good things - about Rita Leganski's debut novel The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow. And, after the first few chapters I have to agree wholeheartedly.

I have my favourite genres, but sometimes there's something about the description of a book or the opening lines that grabs me and I just know that this is going to one of those special books that stays with me. Until I lend it out - because I'll definitely be recommending this one.

"Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when
...more
Shirley Schwartz
This book is truly magical, and I'm so glad that I took the time to read it. It's unlike any other book that I've ever read. Little Bonaventure Arrow is a wonderful creation and even though there is a lot of magic, mystery, unexplained happenings, supernatural occurences, voodoo and hoodoo in this book, he is so realistic and so very loveable. The setting is a little place called Bayou Cymbaline in the 1950's. I love the deep south references throughout the book and the glimpse it gives into the ...more
Deborah
May 03, 2013 Deborah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone, whether you believe in the supernatural or not.
Recommended to Deborah by: Goodreads
Although it doesn't seem to show up here, I did review this book.
I was so impressed by Rita Leganski's writing, and I found the story to be incredibly compelling. I couldn't put the book down. Some individuals may find fault with it for the way it "suspends reality" in giving Bonaventure powers of super-natural hearing. But having grown up with a father who was raised in the deep South, I know that the culture there sees things differently. Hearing about my dad's childhood, I learned that most p
...more
Aimee
Magical realism has become my favorite genre and this book by Rita Leganski is a perfect example of why I enjoy it so much. This book is filled with love, faith, secrets, voodoo, and magic that feels very believable in this touching story. Bonaventure Arrow stole my heart from the very beginning of this story and I loved how he could not talk but could hear so much. Some of the most beautiful sections of the book are the ones that describe the wondrous things that Bonaventure can hear.

Bonaventur
...more
Emalynne Wilder
Oh, Bonaventure!

It's one of those books that shakes up your insides, and after the book ends, you can only conclude that where they said AUTHOR they meant MAGICIAN, because only a person capable of spells and magic could possibly conjure up such feelings of sadness for fictional people.

You know Rita is a gifted author because in just a few pages she brought romance to life between Dancy and William so bold it rippled throughout the rest of her novel, despite the unfortunate event that unfolds.

My
...more
Andrew
This was a work assignment (i.e. with that cover, I would not have picked it up) that turned into a late-night read. The openly sentimental story about a special boy and his magical hearing is smile-inducing. Although characters come and go, and the story occasionally jumps around in time without warning, it all just makes sense. The time and place is the ideal setting for the unfolding purpose of young Bonaventure upon whom rest many hopes and who plays a pivotal role in reconciling the past an ...more
Tasha
A gorgeous gem of a book! The writing is smooth and silky and the pages pretty much just turned themselves. I was caught off guard by this one. I expected to enjoy it based on the ratings but not as much as I did. Magical Realism is a hit or miss for me but this one worked perfectly with connections to the 'other side' and some hoodoo/voodoo thrown in. I often find these elements too corny but this author did a fantastic job keeping it believable and a perfect fit with the story. Historical fict ...more
Kristina
Completely magical.

This is one of those books that I know I will be coming back to time and again. There are various authors about whom I feel that way -- John le Carré, Estelle Ryan, Elswyth Thane for instance -- but very few specific books. In fact right now, I can think of only two: And Both Were Young and Dawn's Early Light. I have read the first probably three dozen times and the second probably half a dozen times and neither ever fail to bring me the deepest joy. The Silence of Bonaventure
...more
☮Karen
This is certainly a beautifully written story by a truly talented author, so I understand the high ratings, if you enjoy this genre. The magical realism, voodoo & hoodoo, and the supernatural aspects just do nothing for me these days; but I loved the ending and the life lessons Leganski was attempting to portray. Some very loveable characters as well.
Kristi
This is a book that is impossible to read quickly. Every sentence needs to be ingested as you would a favourite desert that is meant to be savoured. I dare you not to fall in love with young Bonaventure Arrow, whose innocence and kindness comes across on every page. So, so good.
Greta Turnbull
I really liked the beginning of the book and the middle of the book was kinda slow, but the last 150 pages was great!!!! And I would recommend to read this book, it was worth it!!!
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Rita Leganski holds an MA in writing and publishing and a BA in literary studies and creative writing from DePaul University. She teaches a writing workshop at DePaul's School for New Learning and was a recipient of the Arthur Weinberg Memorial Prize for a work of historical fiction.
More about Rita Leganski...

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“Love transcended loss long enough for them to find that the depth of feeling is best known in silence, because in the presence of such love words are never quite enough.” 10 likes
“She opened her heart and her home to her Purpose, and waited for it to come in.” 9 likes
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