The Buffalo Soldier
By Chris Bohjalian
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375725463, 432pp.)
Publication Date: February 25, 2003
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With his trademark emotional heft and storytelling skill, bestselling author Chris Bohjalian presents this resonant novel about the formation of an unconventional family–the ties that bind it, and the strains that pull it apart. Two years after their twin daughters died in a flash flood, Terry and Laura Sheldon, a Vermont state trooper and his wife, take in a foster child. His name is Alfred; he is ten years old and African American. And he has passed through so many indifferent families that he can’t believe that his new one will last.
In the ensuing months Terry and Laura will struggle to emerge from their shell of grief only to face an unexpected threat to their marriage; Terry’s involvement with another woman. Meanwhile, Alfred cautiously enters the family circle, and befriends an elderly neighbor who inspires him with the story of the buffalo soldiers, the black cavalrymen of the old West. Out of the entwining and unfolding of their lives, The Buffalo Soldier creates a suspenseful, moving portrait of a family, infused by Bohjalian’s moral complexity and narrative assurance.
Chris Bohjalian is the author of eight novels, including Midwives, (a # 1 New York Times bestseller and an Oprah’s Book Club® selection), Trans-Sister Radio, and The Buffalo Soldier—as well as Idyll Banter, a collection of magazine essays and newspaper columns.
His work has been translated into seventeen languages, been published in twenty countries, and twice become acclaimed movies, (“Midwives” and “Past the Bleachers”). In 2002 and he won the New England Book Award.
“In The Buffalo Soldier, Bohjalian proves once again that he's a master novelist.” –The Boston Globe
“Bohjalian plunges [his characters] into a dramatic situation so powerful that even their quiet voices cannot fail to be heard. . . .The Buffalo Soldier is imbued with hope and the possibility for redemption.” –The Washington Post
“Bohjalian gives us fine-grained detail and beautifully observed domestic psychology.” –The Los Angeles Times
“Beautifully wrought. . . . A moving account of personal strength and the joy of belonging.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“If it's captivating literature you're after, The Buffalo Soldier earns a solid A.” –Entertainment Weekly