Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Buffalo Soldier

The Buffalo Soldier

4.2 30
by Chris Bohjalian, Alison Fraser (Read by)

See All Formats & Editions

From the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Midwives and Trans-Sister Radio comes a hauntingly beautiful story of the ties that bind families—and the strains that pull them apart.

In northern Vermont, a raging river overflows its banks and sweeps the nine-year-old twin daughters of Terry and Laura Sheldon to their deaths. In


From the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Midwives and Trans-Sister Radio comes a hauntingly beautiful story of the ties that bind families—and the strains that pull them apart.

In northern Vermont, a raging river overflows its banks and sweeps the nine-year-old twin daughters of Terry and Laura Sheldon to their deaths. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the highway patrolman and his wife, unable to have more children, take in a foster child: a ten-year-old African-American boy who has been shuttled for years between foster families and group homes. Young Alfred cautiously enters the Sheldon family circle, barely willing to hope that he might find a permanent home among these kind people still distracted by grief.

Across the street from the Sheldons live an older couple who take Alfred under their wing, and it is they who introduce him to the history of the buffalo soldiers—African-American cavalry troopers whose reputation for integrity, honor, and personal responsibility inspires the child.

Before life has a chance to settle down, however, Terry, who has never been unfaithful to Laura, finds himself attracted to the solace offered by another woman. Their encounter, brief as it is, leaves her pregnant with his baby—a child Terry suddenly realizes he urgently wants.

From these fitful lives emerges a lyrical and richly textured story, one that explores the meaning of marriage, the bonds between parents and children, and the relationships that cause a community to become a family. But The Buffalo Soldier is also a tale of breathtaking power and profound moral complexity—and exactly the sort of novel readers have come to expect from Chris Bohjalian.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Readers who have come to expect mysterious circumstances of death and new age disciplines as standard elements in the novels of Chris Bohjalian will find neither in The Buffalo Soldier. But the Vermont landscape and plainspoken New Englanders that are another of the bestselling author's trademarks are unmistakably present in his eighth novel, a touching tale of love and loss, rejuvenation of life, and reclamation of hope after unthinkable tragedy.

Vermont state trooper Terry Sheldon and his wife, Laura, have lost their twin daughters to the indiscriminate currents of a flash flood. Two years after their daughters' death, having learned they are unable to conceive again, they seek to fill the void in their family by taking in a ten-year-old African-American foster child. Alfred, a sensitive yet withdrawn boy, has experienced more than his share of adversity, and he struggles to navigate the unfamiliar waters he encounters in this all-white, rural community within a family in crisis. Alfred's love and trust are not easily gained or given, and though Laura and the boy steadily develop an attachment, Terry fails to forge any real connection with the seemingly indifferent child. Frustrated by the widening chasm in his marriage, incapable of accepting Alfred into his heart, and unable to acceptably express his grief, Terry enters into a brief extramarital affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy. The potential dissolution of Terry and Laura's marriage threatens to plunge Alfred back into the maelstrom of institutional care. All could be lost unless the intrepid Buffalo Soldier -- as Alfred comes to style himself, after the African-American cavalry troopers whose legacy of integrity, honor, and personal responsibility inspires him -- can rescue them in time.

This quietly soulful novel speaks directly to the heart. It's an elegantly told story of salvation and the surprising places in which it can be found. Chris Bohjalian creates unaffected characters that are gentle and steadfast, vulnerable and fallible -- in a word, human. Expertly crafted with distinctive style, The Buffalo Soldier is a worthy addition to an already impressive body of work. (Ann Kashickey)

Earnest, powerful, The Buffalo Soldier takes its time with ordinary lives: It's a long, involving tale of love and lamentations, home and heartache, written with intelligence and generosity of spirit. Those qualities, unflashy and dependable, typify the writing of Chris Bohjalian, a weekly columnist for the Burlington Free Press who hit it big in 1997 with his fourth novel, Midwives. Combining a legal thriller's momentum with a mildly provocative commentary on alternative medicine, that story was a ready-made selection for Oprah's Book Club. Midwives established Bohjalian as a chronicler of working-class life. The small-town Vermont in which his fiction is set is an intriguing one: of snow and rivers and roadside diners, yes, but also of characters, oftentimes tight-lipped and complex, who are gripped by private struggles. It's an off-kilter Norman Rockwell vision, with darker shadows.

The Buffalo Soldier takes us deeper inside. The story begins in anguish when twin nine-year-old girls drown in a flood of biblical ferocity. In extreme close-up, we witness the aftermath of tragedy: "Their eyes were closed, their hair was tangled with thin twigs and leaves, and there were great clods of mud in the small hollows cast by their joints. Their bodies were bent into shapes that no living person—even a contortionist—could bear." The girls are the only children of highway patrolman Terry Sheldon and his wife, Laura; Bohjalian's story will become one of coping, of coming to terms with the devastation.

Terry, stoic, macho, a kind of competent, hard-worked state trooper straight out of a Bruce Springsteen song, reels quietly and retreats intothe busy solace of his job. Laura simply retreats. A worker at the local Humane Society, she occasionally drags herself into the shelter, seeking the comfort of the orphaned animals. Mainly, however, she withers. "There were months when she didn't believe she'd ever get better—and, what was more important for everyone around her, it was clear that she didn't want to. For a time, for her, there had been Prozac. And there had been the church, though she wasn't exactly sure there had been God."

It's Laura's idea to adopt a child. Into their lives, the couple brings ten-year-old Alfred, already a scarred veteran of foster homes. He's shipped to the Sheldons' hamlet from Burlington, a town big enough to have at least accommodated his sense of difference. He's an alien in this new place not only because of his history (the mother who abandoned him was a prostitute), but also because of his heritage. He's just about the only black kid for miles.

Around Alfred, secretive, shell-shocked, silent (his initial sullenness mocks the Sheldons' memories of their girls' bright laughter), a small world will explode. The boy is startled especially by Laura's kindness, but he's learned enough never to trust. One of the book's more affecting scenes finds Alfred hoarding food and utensils in his closet: He's never sure when he'll be forced to move again. "If you only took one or two things a week, the grownups rarely figured out that you were building up a stash," he reasons. While Alfred's relationship with Laura is strained, his relationship with Terry is virtually nonexistent. The two simply can't connect.

Terry's distance from the family only intensifies with yet another twist of fate. On a hunting trip, Terry indulges in an illicit tryst, a tumble less passionate than desperate. In a melodramatic turn of events, the woman becomes pregnant. Laura's discovery of the betrayal, Terry's eventual remorse and his new lover's alternating anger and clutching are all handled sensitively by Bohjalian. What elevates The Buffalo Soldier, however, is the presence of young Alfred. As the adults in his newfound home fret, dissemble and nearly disintegrate, the boy becomes stronger and eventually comes into his own.

He is helped by a neighbor, an old man who, like Alfred, feels out of place in the community. He gives Alfred a book on the buffalo soldiers of the 1860s, black riders in the U.S. cavalry. For Alfred, those riders become dream heroes, inspirations. An experienced horseman himself, the old mentor even teaches Alfred to ride.

The novel climaxes with a flood that echoes the book's beginning and provides both a catalyst for Terry and Laura's reunion and a moment in which Alfred's dreams of heroism become real. We see him on horseback at the end, achieving at least a temporary release: "His whole body starting forward with the big animal in two-point and then—the horse's legs extended before and behind her, a carousel pony but real, the immense thrust invisible to anyone but the boy on the creature's back—he was rising, rising, rising.... And aloft."

While Bohjalian isn't the page-turning storyteller that, say, Stephen King and Alice Hoffman are, he may be something rarer yet equally fine, a remarkably empathetic writer who cares sufficiently about his characters to invest them with genuine warmth, an almost tragic dimension that's rare in mainstream, accessible fiction. With this novel, he's again proved himself a valuable resource—an author of concern and attention. With imagined lives as real as Terry's, Laura's and Alfred's, he's given voice to grief, loneliness, hardship and, ultimately, hope.
—Paul Evans
Publishers Weekly
The capricious ways of nature frame this eighth novel by the popular Bohjalian (Midwives; Trans-Sister Radio). Several years after the devastating loss of their nine-year-old twin daughters in a flood, Vermont residents Laura and Terry Sheldon decide to adopt a child. When a state agency grants them a taciturn 10-year-old African-American boy on a foster-parent trial basis, they acquiesce, albeit with some reluctance. The trial is no less unsettling for the child, Alfred, who has already endured separations and is aware of his solitary status in the small, white town. What will save the boy, and lend poignancy to the novel, is a growing friendship with an elderly neighbor, Paul, a retired teacher, who accepts him without preconditions. He gives the boy a book about a post-Civil War western black cavalry unit, the Buffalo Soldiers, and a cap with a picture of their buffalo symbol and then invites the boy to learn to ride his horse. Alfred, moved by the book, responds to Paul and begins to break out of his isolation. Bohjalian writes honestly and often movingly, but his characters do not escape stereotyping. Terry, a uniformed state trooper, is all tough policeman when he catches Alfred arranging a hidden stash of food. He angrily accuses him of thievery, insensitive to Alfred's fear that he may be rejected and need to escape. Laura, an unhappy, colorless character, is only lent dignity by her growing love for the boy and a willingness to understand him. In an echo of the book's opening scene, another natural disaster brings the novel to a handy but credibility-straining conclusion. Bohjalian's facile handling of both plot and narrative makes for fast reading, but fans may conclude that the result feels rushed and cursory. 13-city author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Bohjalian crafts a masterful story of loss and love set against the vagaries of northern Vermont's weather. The six different voices heard are varied and distinct. From the foster child, Alfred, who finds a connection to the Buffalo Cavalry Soldiers of the past, and his foster parents, Terry and Laura Sheldon, who are dealing with the earlier loss of their twin daughters in a flood, to the strong secondary characters of Phoebe and elderly neighbors Paul and Emily, the author has created a community of conflict and understanding of both grief and need. Alison Fraser deftly captures each of these very different voices. The only flaw is the lack of audio identifiers for the cassettes. Highly recommended.DJoyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It sounds like a TV movie of the week, but Bohjalian's eighth novel, among them the Oprah-picked Midwives (1997), works hard and pretty successfully to transcend the hackneyed scenario of parents adopting a child after losing their own. After a sudden flood kills the daughters of Laura and Terry Sheldon, a highway patrolman and his wife, they struggle for two years to cope with the loss. Finally Laura, unable to have more children, persuades her husband to take in a foster child. And so Albert arrives, a ten-year-old African-American boy-this in an all-white rural Vermont town. Neither a child from hell nor a particularly lovable one, Albert has endured the routine cruelties of the foster care system, and he enters the family with little hope of change. Although he's the only African-American in town, however, he suffers surprisingly little overt racism. But plenty of insensitivity. "I am completely color-blind," announces his teacher proudly. "I treat all my students as if they were white." His classmates tolerate him, but their schoolboy cliques remain closed. Yearning for friendship, he finds it in an elderly neighbor, a retired teacher who allows him to care for his horse and teaches him about the buffalo soldiers, black cavalry who served in the American west after the Civil War. The story would be half its length but for stepfather Terry's one-night stand with a young woman who becomes pregnant. Although she's not willing to break up his marriage, Terry finds himself yearning for a child of his own, and their affair resumes. Devastated when she learns of it, Laura demands that he move out. He does, but the crisis is resolved and the marriage endures. Another that may be in the Oprahmode, a tale of family torment. But Oprah's picks as a rule have literary merit, and this is no exception. Despite a conventional plot, Bohjalian's characters ring true, and he writes with insight and feeling.
From the Publisher
“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

Product Details

Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 8 cassettes, 12 hrs.
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.15(h) x 2.68(d)

Read an Excerpt

It rained throughout September and October, and people made jokes about Biblical floods before the Sheldon girls drowned. But their jokes weren't serious, because there were intermittent days when the clouds would continue on their way to the east and leave behind nothing but blue skies and crisp autumn air. If people worried about anything, they fretted over the numbers of leaf peepers and flatlanders who hadn't made their customary fall pilgrimages to Vermont that year—and what effect that lost revenue might have on their purses—or they complained about the mud.

After all, the fall rains had made the ground as boggy as March, and the earth showed no signs of freezing up soon. The dirt roads were so laden with runnels that drivers would wince as they lurched their cars forward, while the paved ones often were layered with diaphanous sheets of moisture that in the night reflected a vehicle's headlights like mirrors.

Certainly the water was high in the lakes: Bomoseen and Champlain to the west of the Green Mountains, that range of hills that rose like a great animal's spine across the vertical center of the state, and Willoughby and Memphremagog to the east. Likewise, the rivers of any size often had small crests of albescent foam. There must have been a half-dozen days when the counties north of Rutland had lived with flash-flood advisories and warnings, especially the two occasions when the remnants of late-season Caribbean hurricanes tracked deep into New England and dumped torrents of rain onto ground that was already soaked, and into lakes and rivers that already had about all the water they could handle. One Saturday in late October the Cornish Volunteer FireCompany went so far as to move its two attack pumpers and heavy rescue truck over the bridge that spanned the Gale River, so the vehicles would be on the more populated side of the water if the bridge was brought down by the rapids.

That had happened once before: The original bridge had washed away in the Great Flood of 1927, on the very day that S. Hollister Jackson, the state's lieutenant governor, had drowned in another part of the state when his car stalled in a rivulet on the road near his house and he tried to walk home through the waters. Instead he had been swept away in the current, his body washing up a mile downriver in Potash Brook.

But the rivers never topped their banks the fall the Sheldon girls died, at least not while the phantasmagoric red and yellow leaves remained on the trees, and lake water only oozed into the basements of the people who lived on the shore. For most of northern Vermont the rains were a mere inconvenience.

The hunters traipsed into the woods that November despite the storms and the showers. They trudged along paths in which they sunk ankle-deep in wet leaves, their boots sometimes swallowed in turbid mountain runoff, and even the thinner tree branches would whip water in their faces when they gently pushed them aside as they walked.

On the second day of deer season, a Sunday, the Sheldon girls were playing with their friend Alicia Montgomery. It had rained heavily all Friday night, Saturday, and much of Sunday morning—dropping close to eight inches in the thirty-six-hour period.

A little past two the rain stopped, and the three girls donned their raincoats and mud boots and wandered outside. They, like so many children that autumn, had been cooped up indoors for whole weekends at a time, and any opportunity to run outside to jump and shriek was taken. Alicia's mother, a woman in her late forties who had three sons older than Alicia, assumed they were going to slosh in the mud around the family's swing set in the backyard, or see how much water had trickled into the wooden clubhouse Alicia's older brothers had built on the property some years before. She thought she might have told them to stay away from the river, but she admitted she honestly wasn't sure. Certainly her daughter didn't recall any such warning.

The Sheldon girls were nine, and they were twins—though not identical twins. They were small-boned, but not at all frail-looking. Rather, with their long legs and arms, they reminded some people of baby colts: They were known for running everywhere, though Megan had never shown any interest in organized sports. Hillary had, but not Megan. Their hair was just a shade closer to blond than brown, and very, very fine. It fell to their shoulders. Hillary was likely to wear her hair down, except on those days when she was playing youth soccer—then she would allow her mother to put it back in a ponytail. Megan usually had her mother braid her hair in the morning, or try one of the bolder statements—a poodle pony or a French twist—that she found described in a hairstylist's handbook she had bought at a yard sale for a dime.

Alicia had been more Hillary's friend than Megan's, because she, too, loved sports. Some days it was just easier for everyone, however, if the twins played together. The two were in the same Girl Scout troop and the same classroom at school, and it couldn't have been otherwise. The small town only had one Girl Scout troop and one classroom filled with fourth-graders. There were only so many eight-, nine-, and ten-year-old girls in the whole village, and so the pair tended to be together more often than they were apart.

Most years, the Gale River meandered lazily through the canyon it had carved over centuries through Cornish and Durham. The water ran down from the mountains, working its way west through rocks and boulders into the Otter Creek, and then, eventually, into Lake Champlain. In summer, the water fell to barely a foot or two in some sections, though there were always areas where it was considerably deeper and people would congregate in large groups to swim or in small groups to fish. The river had stretches that were rich with rainbow and brown trout.

At its thinnest point, the Gale narrowed to fifteen feet; at its widest, it swelled to fifty.

The water paralleled the road that linked Cornish with the more substantial village of Durham, the asphalt and aqua almost perfectly aligned for close to six miles. The riverbanks were steeply pitched, and thick with moss and oak and maple saplings. There were clusters of raspberry bushes that were resplendent with claret-red fruit in July. The side of the river opposite the road was forest until you reached the small collection of houses and public buildings that most people considered the Cornish village center: the elementary school, a church, and a general store on one side of the water, a fire department and Little League baseball field on the other. Depending upon the angle of the road, the river could be either obvious or completely invisible.

Occasionally people swam naked in those sections where the river could not be seen from the street.

The montgomery family lived no more than a hundred yards from the section of the Gale River that was traversed by the bridge—the very bridge over which the fire company had moved its trucks a few weeks earlier. On summer nights when their windows were open, the family could hear the water as it burbled through the thin clove next to the road.

The Sheldons lived outside of the tiny village, on the street that led past the Cousinos' dairy farm and on to the cemetery. That meant Hillary and Megan usually only visited the river in the summer, when they might venture to the swimming hole most frequented by the families with younger children—a section of the river that formed a cozy lagoon near a waterfall, and the depth rose to five or six feet. You could feel a slight current in the spot, but it wasn't enough to pull one from the pool.

To get there, either one of their parents or the parents of one of their friends would have to drive them. You couldn't walk to that swimming hole—not from the town or from their house—and on the hottest summer days there would be a conga line of cars and trucks parked as far to the side of the winding road as possible. Often an automobile would pull in so close to the brush that everyone would have to exit the vehicle on the driver's side.

The waters were high the day the Sheldon girls drowned—according to Alicia, this alone had drawn the three of them to the Gale—and there was in fact a flood warning. But there had been flood warnings on any given day throughout the fall, and no one was unduly alarmed.

While tromping aimlessly through the mud in the Montgomery family's yard, the three girls heard the low roar of the high water in the distance, and—despite the fact that the rain had resumed in earnest—went to see just how close to the bank the river really was. The general store was open until three on Sunday afternoons, and periodically that day people had ventured to either the bridge or the bank itself after getting their newspaper, cigarettes, or milk, and watched the water as it tumbled by. The waves weren't yet lapping at the very tops of the riverbank, but they were close. Alicia recalled that almost all of the adults who wandered by had remarked in some way on the whitewater, raising their voices so they could be heard over the sound of the rapids.

Just before two-thirty, Jeremy Stern left the general store with a six-pack of beer and a frozen pizza, and glanced at the bridge where the three nine-year-old girls were standing. Far down the street that led from the village up into the mountains he heard someone honking madly on a car horn. The toots were distant, but there was a frenzied quality to them. He returned to his own pickup to drive toward them, wondering what the fuss was all about and whether there was anything he could do to help. He backed into the street, not realizing that the person who was pounding furiously on his car horn was actually driving into the village as fast as he could, hoping to warn people that the Gale was already over its banks up on the mountain, and a wall of water was sure to hit the town any minute.

Other than Alicia Montgomery, Jeremy was the last person to see the Sheldon girls when they were alive.

The water would carve chasms in the road that were forty feet deep and, in one case, forty-five feet wide. Wherever the road bent to the south, there was at the very least erosion of the dirt beneath the asphalt, and in four cases there was complete destruction of the pavement—massive holes hewed abruptly into the hillsides. It was a miracle that the half-dozen or so cars on the road that moment were in sections of pavement that survived the flash flood, and so none of the motorists were hurt. Granted, the Willards' car was trapped for a week and a half between two canyons, and the elderly couple had to traverse one of the deep holes in the ground by foot to get home that afternoon. But they made it. Other cars had to turn back, returning to either Cornish or Durham.

And the property damage was immense. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would spend a month in the county—a week in Cornish alone. People who lived along the river lost the washing machines, dryers, and furnaces they kept in their basements. Small structures were upended and swept downriver, where they were smashed against the remains of a modest hydroelectric plant—largely boulders and cement pilings now—the power company had built along the river in 1922.

It had been the flood of 1927 that destroyed the generating station, so that the only traces left were a part of the foundation below the waterline and the concrete buttresses above it.

Once the wall of water had passed, there was an enormous heap of scrap wood at the site of the old plant, a mound easily as large as the woodpiles at the state's landfills and dumps. There were parts of two small barns there, including the Nuners' elegant carriage barn, and a gazebo. There were at least a half-dozen of the small outbuildings and lean-tos people used to store their sap buckets and plastic sugaring tubes, any tools they were likely to use outdoors, and their snowmobiles or their boats.

These items crashed into the power station stanchions as well, and usually broke apart.

The Murrays lost both of their horses, and the Dillons lost all three of their sheep. The animal carcasses somehow wound their way through the dam of debris by the old generator site, and washed ashore six miles away, where the river forked into a second branch that wound its way through the considerably larger towns of Durham, New Haven, and Middlebury.

The village Little League field was flooded, as was the library. The library sat in a room beside the town clerk's office, and it lost its entire collection of children's books—every book, that is, that wasn't checked out at that moment—because those books were kept on the lowest shelves and the water inside the building climbed to three feet before it started to recede.

The center of the town and a great many of the homes with basements that filled with water smelled liked river mud for days: earthy and musty and—because of the havoc that had been wrought—a little putrid.

The only fatalities, however, were Hillary and Megan Sheldon.

From the Audio Cassette (Unabridged) edition.

Copyright 2002 by Chris Bohjalian

Meet the Author

Chris Bohjalian is the author of eighteen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands; The Sandcastle Girls; Skeletons at the Feast; The Double Bind; and Midwives. His novel Midwives was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah’s Book Club. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, and three of his novels have become movies (Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont. 


Brief Biography

Lincoln, Vermont
Date of Birth:
August 12, 1961
Place of Birth:
White Plains, New York
Amherst College

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Buffalo Soldier 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters are so well portrayed and explored, it's as if they become your 'neighbors.' This is an uplifting and affirming story about bonds which are lost, broken, found, strengthened and cherished. There's a vivid portrayal of the community, and how the environment affects them. I found the boy's bond with the horse an especially heartwarming and momentous aspect of the story. I'm a fan of Bohjalian, and have read all but one of his books....for a long time, I didn't read 'Buffalo' because it involved loss of young children, and I was afraid I would just fall apart over that aspect. While it is a very sad story, it does not remain or linger there. This author achieves such conscious, understanding accounts of relationships--especially authentic between the foster mother and the boy. I wish I could give an 'exceeds 5 stars' rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was completely absorbed with the characters in this very touching and complicated story about placing Alfred, a foster child, with an emotionally broken family he came to live with in Vermont. Having read this book while on a recent trip to Ireland, I can recommend this is an excellent read for anyone. Chris Bohjalian's stories are quite interesting as a whole, although the most recent book "Secrets of Eden" I found was not for me. By far, The Buffalo Soldier is the most interesting read by Mr. Bohjalian. I have read The Double Bind, Skeletons at the Feast, and Midwives, all of which are worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very compelling book with each of the characters fully developing without the sterotypical ending or resolutions. Chris Bohjalian has a way of capturing the reader's attention and never letting go. This is the second book of his I've read (Midwives was the first). I'm hooked.
LIBRA-READER More than 1 year ago
I particularly enjoyed this novel. I am a definite fan of Chris Bohjalain, and book by book I love his work even more. The Buffalo Soldier is a beautiful story of grief and pain, and how people heal against all odds. It is impossible not to love Alfred (the foster child) and it is especially interesting how the author ties some history of the buffalo soldiers into the beginning of each chapter. As many Bohjalain reviewers touch upon his fantastic ability to address social issues in his writing, he certainly nails the foster care system in VT. with this book. This is a truly beautiful and poignant story...it is a must read.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
The Buffalo Soldier is a complex tale of morals and emotions. I loved it. I loved how the book was written with the chapters alternating between the main characters so the reader gets to see the whole picture. I was able to sympathize with each character and understand why they did the things they did. Bohjalian did a wonderful job creating his characters; Terry, the stereotypical macho highway patrolman. His fragile wife Laura, who is still grieving the loss of her children. Alfred, the somewhat troubled foster child who is seemingly the only black person in miles. And probably my favorite character, Paul, the retired professor who is the first to bond with Alfred. The Buffalo Soldier is a journey of frail and fractured lives trying to grasp the roots to form a family. I couldn't put the book down.
BrandyGirl More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. At first the title kind of threw me off and I thought it was something I would not be interested in. I could not put this one down. The characters really come to life and I felt like I knew them. I loved the whole story and the ending was great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wasn't too crazy about Midwives, but our book club decided to read The Buffalo Soldier so I gave the author another chance. I like this book much better. The characters were real and interesting, the areas of Vermont were well described and familiar to me. I enjoyed learning about the Buffalo Soldiers and will continue to learn about them, and add them to my other historical persuits. The ending was way to dramatic and way over the top. It was exciting but not believable. I could think of several better endings that would have made it a much better book. I still would recommend it and enjoyed the character development.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is Bohjalian's best book yet. I really enjoyed Midwives, Law of Similars and Transister Radio, but I think he has really hit his stride with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Bohjalian has again here crafted a story with characters that remind the reader of him- or herself...decent and well-intended but flawed and pulled apart by life's unexpected twists and turns, and dismayed by our own reactions to them. A good read. I also always seem to learn something new when I read Mr. Bohjalian's books, whether it be midwifery, alternative medicine or the world of the Buffalo Soldier.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book...I am an avid reader and this book is one of the best I have read so far...The author does an excellent job of describing the characters...I felt like they were living next door to me. I highly recommend this book!