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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Tale of Ordinary Folk
This is the second of Chris Bohjalian's books that I have read (the first being Midwives), and he is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors.

When Laura and Terry Sheldon foster Alfred, the whole of the small Vermont town in which they live seens to be disrupted. Two years ago the Sheldon's twin daughters were drowned in a tragic accident - this...
Published on 31 Aug. 2008 by Lincs Reader

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just nice...
I fancied myself taking on a 'literary' book - you know, the type that wins awards etc. This seemed like a good start. It was, to be honest, just what i expected. The prose was pleasantly written, smoothly rolling page after page, and I found myself falling into the character's minds. However, if it's an action packed, twist-and-turn plot you're after then look elsewhere...
Published on 25 Aug. 2004 by H Pedder


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just nice..., 25 Aug. 2004
By 
H Pedder "bookworm" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Buffalo Soldier (Hardcover)
I fancied myself taking on a 'literary' book - you know, the type that wins awards etc. This seemed like a good start. It was, to be honest, just what i expected. The prose was pleasantly written, smoothly rolling page after page, and I found myself falling into the character's minds. However, if it's an action packed, twist-and-turn plot you're after then look elsewhere. The book's official synopsis, actually, is what you get. A pleasant book to read but not one which I shall file away in my 'to-read-again' pile. Just nice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Tale of Ordinary Folk, 31 Aug. 2008
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Buffalo Soldier (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
This is the second of Chris Bohjalian's books that I have read (the first being Midwives), and he is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors.

When Laura and Terry Sheldon foster Alfred, the whole of the small Vermont town in which they live seens to be disrupted. Two years ago the Sheldon's twin daughters were drowned in a tragic accident - this incident had already shocked the townspeople - so the introduction of a 10 year old black boy into the family will either bring them together or push them so far apart.

The story is told in many voices, each chapter is narrated by; Laura (foster mum), Terry (foster dad), Alfed (foster child), The Herberts (the old couple over the road who really take to Alfred) or Phoebe (Terry's lover).

This is a story of ordinary people that are easily related to - their stories gently unfold - this is certainly not a fast, action packed story. Each character is given an equal voice and each character adds more and more to the story. The story is about family life and how ordinary people deal with pain and heartache - love and relationships and their hopes for the future.

A really enjoyable read - I'm looking forward to reading much more by this author.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only a foster-kid, but a black one, 16 Sept. 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Buffalo Soldier (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
Occasionally a novel really grabs your senses and your heart, both, and moves you deeply into its events, and this is one of those books. Alfred is ten, parentless, many times fostered, and he's black. There is something strong and moral about him, though in the past he has been described as `troubled' - that euphemism for past misbehaviour that indicates a present tense as well.

Laura and Terry had two beautiful daughters, younger than Alfred, until they were drowned two years ago in one of the flash-floods that afflict this part of leafy, but mountainous, Vermont in the winter storms. Fostered with Laura and Terry, Alfred is careful, silent, fearful. He recognises early that it is Laura who wants and needs him, and that Terry, a State Trooper, is merely acquiescent. He is drawn to their neighbours, an older couple, Paul and Emily, especially when Paul tells him about the Buffalo Soldiers and later acquires a horse which he shares the care and pleasure of with Alfred. Alfred finds it difficult to make friends at school; all the other boys have known each other all their lives and some of their parents are wary of what they see as a double outsider coming into their houses, not only a foster-kid, but a black one. Alienated and afraid, Alfred does what he always does in this situation: waits to see how long it will be before he is moved on again. The worst seems bound to happen, especially when Terry becomes involved with another woman.

This is a wrenching, even heart-breaking story, told in measured prose that is full of insight and empathy for each of the protagonists. Alfred's relationship with Laura, Terry, Paul and the horse, Mesa, are each of them precisely and intelligently unfolded. This wonderfully engaging and beautifully worked novel is full of emotional tension and incident-laden suspense running high, all the way to its very gratifying conclusion.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Flat and Predictable, 24 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Buffalo Soldier (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
Terry and Laura lose twin daughters in a flash flood. Their marriage is in limbo when they foster a black child, Alfred. Initially Laura warms more to Alfred and Terry, frozen out, has an affair. Alfred goes on to form a close relationship with an elderly couple who have a horse, which the boy looks after and learns to ride. The boy learns about buffalo soldiers and so sees himself as following in their footsteps. Chapters are passed from one character to another. Each is prefaced by quotations from the story of the original buffalo soldiers - black men who served in the US army in the Indian wars. I knew nothing of the original buffalo soldiers, so that was a plus for me. However, the novel has all the drama of a made for TV afternoon movie. It just does not sparkle. The end is signed from a long way off - rarely has a finale been so predictable. I have the feeling that the author, the very successful author, produced this one to order.
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The Buffalo Soldier (Vintage Contemporaries)
The Buffalo Soldier (Vintage Contemporaries) by Chris Bohjalian (Paperback - 30 May 2003)
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