The Buffalo Soldier. Chris Bohjalian

I loved the two other books I read by this author: Midwives and Trans-Sister Radio. I liked the way he took an out of mainstream topic (home birth, sex change operations/NPR) and wove that topic into a gripping narrative. This book I didn’t love as much as the ones I read before, but I still found myself reading “just a little bit more.”

Terry and Laura’s twin daughters are killed in a flood. Two years later, they take in a foster child Alfred, an African American, who is not sure what he thinks of rural Vermont. The neighbors, a retired college professor and his wife, take an interest in Alfred and give him a book about the Buffalo soldiers. The other main character is Phoebe, who becomes romantically involved with Terry.

Though I really liked all the other characters, I didn’t like Terry for the majority of the book. This made reading difficult as I couldn’t figure out how in the world this story was going to end. There was a dramatic event at the end of the story that perhaps sold the ending to me, but it involved a bit too much coincidence for my tastes.

Bohjalian does not use quotation marks. This is incredibly annoying at times, because quotation marks weren’t just invented because the printer wanted more work, they were actually needed. At times I couldn’t tell who was talking and had to go back and reread. Overall, okay book.

One thought on “The Buffalo Soldier. Chris Bohjalian”

  1. I just finished reading Mansfield Park, and Jane is not so great in that book, at identifying who is actually speaking (many passages are lacking even a he said or she said – and in a conversation of 4 or 5 it grows rather confusing). I found myself re-reading whole passages to get an actual idea of the meaning. -S

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