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The Buffalo Soldier

Bohjalian, Chris

6,852 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0609608339 / ISBN 13: 9780609608333
Published by Shaye Areheart Books/Random House, U.S.A., 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From citynightsbooks (Allston, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing. Flatsigned on title page. Set in Vermont, where the author lives, the novel centers on the African-American cavalry that inspires one of the novel's characters. A fine copy in like DJ with an Autographed sticker to front. 404 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 13871

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Buffalo Soldier

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books/Random House, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


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.


There are certain plots that possess inherent drama, and the saving of a lost child is one of them. In The Buffalo Soldier, Chris Bohjalian--who showed such flair for drama in the bestselling Oprah's Book Club® pick Midwives--gives us the story of 10-year-old Alfred, an African American foster child who is taken in by Terry and Laura Sheldon, a white couple whose twin daughters have drowned. Another child is also about to come on the scene: Terry has an affair, and the young woman becomes pregnant. Bohjalian takes his sweet time exploring these relationships, but he also writes scenes with the same tautness that made Midwives a page-turner. The result is a novel that's both readable and exhaustively fleshed out. As Alfred settles into the Sheldons' lives, we actually come to believe in the unlikely little family the three of them forge. Bohjalian narrates his story from the perspective of each of his principal characters, a method that can be tiresome, but here is made fresh by the author's clear vision: these people, you feel, are real to him. --Claire Dederer

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