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Border Songs Hardcover – 3 Aug 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (3 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599753
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,695,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A masterwork, and Jim Lynch, for my money, is our best new storyteller since Larry McMurtry: deeply in touch with the natural world, the absurdities of our era, and the hearts and minds of his unforgettable and endlessly surprising characters' Howard Frank Mosher Praise for The Highest Tide '***** This novel is so very special. If you reach the last page without having laughed out loud, felt tears well up or at least once sat back in wonder at the extraordinary descriptions of the sea and its creatures, then you may, quite simply, be inhuman' Independent on Sunday 'Original and appealing Even the most hard-hearted readers will finish this book wishing they had their own bay to explore' Matt Thorne, Sunday Telegraph 'The Highest Tide is one of the best novels it has been my pleasure to read for many a day. It is lyrical, moving, funny and breathtakingly well-written' Susan Hill, Spectator

About the Author

Jim Lynch grew up near Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington, and has worked as a journalist for the Seattle Times and The Oregonian, winning the Livingston Young Journalist Award and the H.L. Mencken Award among other national reporting honours. He is the author of The Highest Tide, a Richard & Judy bestseller. He lives with his wife and their daughter in Olympia, Washington.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Diacha on 5 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jim Lynch's second book, "Border songs" is a whimsical, entertaining and at times touching book. It introduces us to several special worlds, dairy farming,marijuana cultivation, smuggling, border enforcement, bird watching, small town hardiness and autism.

"Border songs" is set in Blaine, Washington in the Pacific Northwest on a small stretch of the unimaginably long and largely unmarked US-Canadian border. Struggling dairy farmers live uneasily beside "Microsoft millionaires," retired in their thirties, and an increasingly large and increasingly affluent community of "bud" growers and smugglers - old-timers who have succumbed to Mammon, as well as interlopers. Thousands of illegal immigrants of astonishingly diverse origin and smugglers of drugs and arms pore across the boundary -" as thin as a rumor" - barely inconvenienced by the overstretched and largely timid ("Roadie" = retired, on active duty) Border Patrol.

Brandon Vanderkool is a 6ft 8in rookie agent. He is autistic. On the one hand he is a innocent giant , given to strange arm movements, struggling to write reports and to string together sentences ("lock your heads on top of your fingers".... "You laugh when you are beautiful".. and so on) and having to exert all of his mental capability to read the simplest of body language. On the other hand, he is exceptionally gifted - he has an extraordinary affinity for birds, he is an artist of striking genius, and he has a sixth sense for finding smugglers and illegals. Brandon becomes, in the parlance of the BP, a "shiiit magnet," landing record catch after record catch. One day, he runs down a famous alleged terrorist. Blaine is inundated with Feds, congressmen, reporters and "Minutemen" vigilantes who redeploy from the Mexican border.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Showmaster on 16 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read The Highest Tide and loved it straight off, I was quite bemused by my reaction to Border Songs. It hasn't the same immediacy of the first book but having now read it several times, and looking forward to further exploration, it seems to be equally superb. I thought that Lynch would be someone to follow and that he could prove to be a real find and initially I could not reconcile the far more relationship bound nature of Songs over the lyricism of Tide.

I now find that Songs is, in fact, the deeper book with layers that I at first could not see. If anyone had told me that cattle diseases would become a subject I wished to learn more about I would never have believed them. Lynch has done so with subtle skill and understated prose.

I do, however, think that urban dwellers may need to take more time and care over his work as the luxury of living close to nature as I do is not everyones good fortune. He knows what a heron "feels" like and I can't explain that to a townie.
Good book, buy now!
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By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Border Songs is the second novel by American journalist and author, Jim Lynch. After training to join the Border Patrol in New Mexico eight months ago, Brandon Vanderkool is glad to be back home in the familiar northwest corner of his native Washington State. Brandon Vanderkool is NOT cool. Brandon is very tall, well-built, severely dyslexic and awkward around humans: never sure of what to say, mostly incapable of getting the joke, he relates much better to his father’s dairy cows, knows every bird and their call, and spends free time making unusual art.

But Brandon Vanderkool has something that makes him useful to Border Patrol: an innate ability to effortlessly sense what is out of place. He virtually trips over illegal aliens, would-be terrorists and drug smugglers. Soon enough, this draws the attention of the media and funding increases ensure more manpower and technology to protect the border from the Canadian threat. The drug and people smugglers escalate their efforts: locals react in various ways to intrusive technology and lucrative offers for safe passage across their land.

Lynch peoples his novel with a bunch of quirky characters: Brandon’s father, Norm is plagued by worries about his son, his increasingly demented wife, the half-completed yacht in his barn, his bad knee and the ill-health of his unfortunate cows; his across-the-border neighbour is a retired political sciences professor with MS who smokes pot, is busy reinventing common innovations and revels in shouting taunts across the ditch; the professor’s daughter is using her nursery experience to tend basement marijuana crops for the local pot kingpin, while fending off Brandon’s clumsy overtures.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
To those of us living in the American Southwest, the national border of greatest concern and porosity is perhaps the one along Mexico. We may be forgiven for forgetting that there's also a border with Canada, one that can be just as problematic. And it's the refreshing backdrop for a story, as in BORDER SONGS by Jim Lynch.

The setting is along that length of the boundary spanning the coastal flatland between Abbotsford, BC and Blaine, WA, where it meets the Pacific. The unlikely hero of the piece is young Brandon Vandenkool, a recent addition to the U.S. Border Patrol. Unlikely because he suffers from severe dyslexia, a condition that causes awkward problems in his personal relationships, but which also makes him a successful BP officer; he perceives the things and makes the mental connections that his "normal" colleagues miss. For instance, what's with those logs and bales of hay floating down the river?

BORDER SONGS is peopled with a cast of well-drawn and intriguing main characters: Brandon, Brandon's father Norm, who struggles to cope with a gimpy knee, a trouble-plagued dairy business, and a wife in the initial stages of dementia, Wayne, an obnoxious anti-American Canadian neighbor of Norm's dying of MS just across the frontier ditch, Wayne's daughter Madeline, who's up to her eyeballs in pot smuggling, and Sophie, the mesmerizing and enigmatic masseuse who seems to know everybody's business.

The author's intent, presumably, is to illustrate the special love-hate relationship binding the residents sharing both sides of America's longest land border, especially now in this post-9/11 time of heightened border security. That said, the book's plot is essentially a series of mildly interesting one-act scenes mostly involving any two of the aforementioned players.
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