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The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  5,716 ratings  ·  983 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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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  5,716 ratings  ·  983 reviews

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Will Byrnes
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.

Rita Leganski - image from The Quivering Pen

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,
Diane S ☔
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Book Concierge

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
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-5-stars
Simply magical! I loved the writing. I had goosebumps while reading the very first paragraph. I was hooked! Anyways, although the pace is a bit slow, the storyline is remarkable. It’s an emotional roller coaster. This is one of the rare books that I did not want to end. The structure and characters development are truly impressive, at least for me. I loved every page. My favourite part is when Bonaventure was still in his mom’s womb (the description of his reactions to external sounds was so rea ...more
I suppose this falls under the category of magical realism. I actually never knew exactly what that was but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is fun to be immersed in a story where one might believe in guardian angels, that loved ones who have passed on can reach out to us and that some people may have other worldly gifts that can be used to help or heal others. Of course this only works if it is well written and this definitely is.

Love the time period - 1950s, the Cajun culture and New Orleans setti
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
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: winner-goodreads
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.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful story with lyrical writing in a place dripping with southern charm and character. Bonaventure is a boy born without speech but the ability to hear far beyond what most people can hear. What I took from it is you can hear so much more if you keep your mouth shut and listen. A truly magical read.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
What a wonderful read! Just marvelous! It comes out in February so promise to watch for it!
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Strongly considered giving this one a 2 star, but I could not. Primarily because of the lyrical, poetic, poignant passages describing Bonaventure and Trinidad's defining properties. But overall, this entire book just did not work for me. And that's despite the easy read and yet beautiful language of the writing flow.

First of all, I'm beginning to abhor magic realism. Not dislike. In our all too real world it's starting to feel not only silly, but mostly sappy to the point of dangerously dissocia
Marjorie Bowman
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Beautiful, but boring. Filled with super-uptight christian/pro-life/right-wring craziness (aka, nothing I would read by choice) that made me curse out loud more than once.
The story was less than compelling, it never grabbed me and I frequently put this down simply because I didn't care. That isn't like me at all, I almost never take more than one or maybe two sittings to finish a book unless it's a reread or nonfiction. This would be DNF except I hear it's the next big thing and I need to be abl
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by: Tasha
Shelves: recent-reads
The protagonist is Bonaventure Arrow who can hear better than most people, but doesn't use his voice to share what he knows.

The story revolves around Bonaventure's life without his father. His mother and his paternal grandmother raise him in 1950's Louisiana. There is healing that needs to be done on everyone's part (except for Bonaventure) and the unfolding of these story lines is done with congruity.

I love the characters here and I love the lessons of acceptance and moving through grief to the
Laurie Gibson
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
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.
I could never do justice to a review for The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, and surely not as well as Will Byrnes (whose review follows mine), so please read his review while I put my energies into wishing this story had no end.

Magical. Fantastical. Lyrical. Lovely.
Sue  Gerth
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.

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
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The fire sings to the marshmallow, and the song turns the marshmallow brown because that's what marshmallows do when they are happy." - Bonaventure Arrow

(I didn't write a review of this book the first time I read it way back when, so I re-read it, so that I could amend that mistake because this is now one of my favourites.)

This is a story about love, love lost, guilt, regrets, and forgiveness with a bit of magic and satisfying comeuppance written beautifully with winsome characters. William a
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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.

Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story told in a deceptively understated, dreamy way that lulls the reader into thinking not much is going on....but so much happens! Bonaventure Arrow is born unable to speak but he hears everything, and his hearing becomes more acute as he grows older. His family includes his mother and two grandmothers, all very nuanced and fully fleshed out characters. Bonaventure reminded me of Owen Meany (A Prayer for Owen Meany) in a good way!
This book managed to touch on so many social issues wi
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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50 books to read ...: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow 1 10 Jul 02, 2020 11:57AM  

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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

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