Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Buffalo Soldier: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian

This was a story that seems unlikely, but for that very reason tends to ring true.
We have all heard of tragedies that seem almost overwhelming in other families,
situations so dreadful that no author could imagine them.

Bohjalian does. This is a story of a family tragedy that becomes a life changing, and loving situation for a boy that starts out as a stranger and becomes a son. Twin daughters are swept away in a flood in the first pages. The town rallies to console the family in the early days, but as is true in real situation of this sort, support falls away as people realize that there is nothing that they can do to assuage the grief following such loss.

This family finds its way out of darkness into the light and in doing so, the lives of an elderly neighbor and a young foster child are changed along with theirs. The ending is absolutely heart stopping, and was for me, unexpected. This is a compelling read with all too real characters. It is a can't put it down book, like all of Bohjalian's books.

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