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The Buffalo Soldier.

Chris A. Bohjalian. 2002. Read by Alison Fraser. 8 tapes. 12 hrs. Random House Audio. 0-553-715003-3. $39.95. Cardboard, author, reader notes. A

When their 9-year-old twins drown in the flooded Gale River near their home in Cornish, Vermont, the Sheldons (Laura, an animal shelter supervisor, and Terry, a highway patrolman) veer into an emotional tailspin. About two years later, the foster care system approves them to receive Alfred, 10, a reticent black boy who is canny about the system. He is the only black person in town. A retired neighbor, a professor, gets a horse and introduces him to the buffalo soldiers, so named by the Comanches in the 1860s. Terry has a brief affair that leaves the woman pregnant. Alfred matures amidst his foster parents' continued grieving and marital upheaval.

There is excessive detail, but the print version has proved popular. Fraser, who enunciates crisply, has an almost childlike voice. She handles conversations exceptionally well, with subtle voicing. A deep male voice periodically reads excerpts from letters, dispatches, and interviews related to George Rowe, a buffalo soldier, and the Indian woman he marries during the 1870s Indian Wars. Several brief, vivid descriptions of sex. Edna M. Boardman, Bismark, ND
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Author:Boardman, Edna M.
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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