Inderjit (@InderjitDeogun) is an Art History graduate, an environmentalist and a loud-and-proud bookworm. When she’s not fighting against climate change, she has her nose stuck in a book. With a particular love for children’s literature, Inderjit believes a word can be worth a thousand pictures. This is her second year participating in the 50 Book Pledge. To visit Inderjit’s bookshelf click here and be sure to check back monthly for her 50 Book Pledge updates!
Silence. Oh, how I love it. I read, I think and I write in it. I can’t create without it. Because of this, I have always regarded silence as a dear friend.
One thing I’ve never done is listen to silence. Sit still and attempt to decipher what it’s made of. Giving each facet of its composition character and shape.
Where I have failed, Bonaventure Arrow succeeds. Instead of speaking he listens. And by listening, Bonaventure gives dimension to every object, person and sound he encounters, from the couch cushion to a blade of grass to the colour red.
The innocence with which Bonaventure expresses his listening is precisely what makes The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow so stunning. Not the vividness of his descriptions but the originality of both his thinking and understanding. I repeatedly stopped reading because I was awestruck by the depth and honesty of Bonaventure’s words. Here’s what I mean:
At the end of his efforts, Bonaventure held in one grimy hand a cool and hefty, dirt-covered stone that gave off the finest silence he had ever had the pleasure to encounter.
The stone maintained a constant stillness, which Bonaventure took to mean that it was always listening, for in his experience you could hear a lot more if you kept real still. And then too there was the idea that the stone made no sound of its own; Bonaventure could only imagine how much is must be able to hear, what with not having to listen to its own breathing or its own footsteps or its own chewing, and he began to feel a reverence and a solid admiration. Now that the stone was clean, he could see that is was speckled, black and white.
Bonaventure’s gift of hearing also leads him to discover the grief and guilt that plague both Dancy, his mother, and Letice, his Grand-mère. Poisonous emotions prevent them from letting go of the past and moving forward. Once Bonaventure is able to pinpoint the physical echoes of these emotions, he sets out to rid them of it; his gift is not only hearing, but also healing.
Aside from the constant buzz, I knew nothing about The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow when I decided to read it. I still can’t believe it’s Rita Leganski’s debut novel because I consider it a masterpiece. Why? Because the goal of any author is to make the reader feel, hear and see the world in a whole new way and Leganski triumphs. There are many gifts in the pages of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow: Breathtaking imagery, complex characters, poetic prose; however, the greatest gift is that of hearing. Since reading it, I find myself consciously listening, trying to hear every sound and the story it holds. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is the best book I’ve read this year. And you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t read it too.
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