Received: Borrowed from Jenn @ Lost in A Great BookRelease Date: February 26, 2013
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Bonaventure Arrow didn’t make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. But he was only listening, placing sound inside quiet and gaining his bearings. By the time he is five, he can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. One day, Bonaventure’s world is shaken by anguished voices he’s never heard before–voices that trace back to a note written by his mother, Dancy, and to a peculiar relic owned by his Grand-mère Letice. When Bonaventure removes the note and the relic from where they’ve been hidden, he opens two doors to the past and finds the key to a web of secrets that both hold his family together, and threaten to tear them apart. Set against the background of 1950s New Orleans and the fictional town of Bayou Cymbaline, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is rich with the character of a culture that overflows with conjured charms and sanctified spirits. It takes readers from a gumbo joint on Atchafaylaya Road to a sinister house in New Orleans to the interior of the Arrow family crypt. A magical debut novel about the lost art of listening and a wondrous little boy who brings healing to the souls of all who love him in this story of forgiveness and redemption.
I first heard about this book last weekend, while on a girls trip away. A friend was reading it and couldn't stop praising it, there were a few times over the weekend where she would read us passages just to show how amazing the prose of this book is. So thank you Jenn for recommending this book! I dived into this book right away knowing that it is my type of book, and I can say that this book has earned a place on my shelf of books I will reread (which is not a very large shelf, the books really have to mean something to me).
Right from the beginning Leganski's writing draws you in to the story about a little boy born without sound, I felt for Bonaventure learning to get by in life without a voice. But this boy is very special, he has heightened hearing, and the way he reacts to what he hears is beautiful. I love the descriptions throughout the story of what Bonaventure hears and how he associates certain people to the sounds. But not only do people have sounds, but objects and colours come with their own distinct sounds. Everything about the descriptions were so gorgeous, and it made me want to have something like that, Bonaventure is able to hear feelings and he could hear a sound at a large distance knowing when certain people were near... it was definitely an interesting concept.
What really made this book special for me, was how I was reminded of reading THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold (this is one of my favourite books because of the message it brings with it, and this book is a little similar). Bonaventure is the character that has to help his family through their grief of the death of his father, and the things he does is beautiful and had me in tears many times. The hardest part of the book was knowing that Bonaventure can communicate with his father and he helps Bonaventure through things. There is just so much to this book that I can't help but not love it.
There are some religious undertones in this book, which I can see will get to some readers but I felt that even though they were a large part of the story it wasn't a pushy kind of religious tone. Each character has their own thoughts on religion, and it was really interesting to see how Leganski incorporated that into the story. I need everyone to go out and read this book ASAP, it is so beautiful and really addresses grief in a beautiful way. There are so many amazing passages that stick with you throughout the book. I hope that this book receives all the praise it deserves!