A magically evocative novel set in New Orleans in the 1920s-1950s with a large cast of fascinating characters, each of whom harbors a secret.
The prose is lyrically rhythmic and waltzes the reader through the various stories that circle closer and closer to each other until they ultimately merge, resolving the many mysterious and intriguing questions raised along the way. The baby boy, named for a saint, cannot speak but was gifted, early on in his mother’s womb, with the ability to hear the vibrations of the world around him: heartbeats, blood flow, feelings of kindred spirits however far away in time or place. His father, William Arrow, is shot and killed at a grocery store by a crazed man whom no one can identify. This happens shortly before Bonaventure’s birth, but William’s spirit stays close to his family and speaks to his son throughout. Meanwhile, William’s mother, Letice, has a terrible feeling she knows who the killer is and believes the murder was an act of vengeance. Physically and mentally injured and unable to speak coherently, the killer is committed to a mental hospital for the criminally insane and referred to as The Wanderer, or simply John Doe. A private detective hired by Letice is eventually able to uncover the truth that Letice always suspected.
A fine novel about love, loss, revenge and forgiveness that also touches on themes of race and class discrimination.