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Border Songs af Jim Lynch

Border Songs (udgave 2009)

af Jim Lynch (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4542840,893 (3.82)95
When severely dyslexic Brandon Vanderkool is forced to join the Border Patrol, he learns the border is a haven for illegal drug smugglers and other criminals. Meanwhile, disease has struck his father's herd, and his mother is battling something even more debilitating. Each will have to fight for hope in a world changing too fast.… (mere)
Titel:Border Songs
Forfattere:Jim Lynch (Forfatter)
Info:Knopf (2009), 304 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Border Songs af Jim Lynch


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Border Songs by Jim Lynch is set in and around Blaine, Washington, a town right on the U.S./Canada border. Running eastwards from Blaine, the border between the two countries is very open, no fences no wires, simply a few markers and a shallow ditch. On the Canadian side runs Zero Avenue and on the American, Boundary Road. This border is a symbol of the trust and friendship that exists between the United States and Canada.

The author peoples his book with characters that are as unique as this open border. First and foremost, on the American side, we meet newly appointed border guard, 6’8” dyslexic Brandon Vanderkool who relates to animals and birds but has great difficulty with people. Brandon is in love with Canadian pothead Madeline Rousseau who has been running wild since her mother’s death, has started growing marijuana indoors. Between the Border Patrol and the smugglers/growers lie the regular inhabitants, the dairy farmers, retirees and property owners, many who make money on the side by turning a blind eye to strangers crossing their land during the night.

While there is plenty of action in this story what with arresting marijuana smugglers, suspected terrorists and vanloads of foreign prostitutes, it is really a wry, humorous story about our differences and similarities. And although the plot sort of fizzles out, the author’s charming and quirky characters engage the reader and make Border Songs an enjoyable portrait of life on the “border”. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jan 24, 2021 |
What a wild ride as readers fly with Brandon Vanderkool as he evolves into a magnet crime solver as a US Border Patrol!

Interwoven between British Columbia and the state of Washington
is his love for birds, painting, family and a desire for a partner who can appreciate his Dyslexian reactions. ( )
  m.belljackson | Jan 18, 2021 |
This was just so much fun! Each chapter was opera, from first sentence to the last. What stays with me, though, is not the story line, but the characters. They are rich, and I want to get to know them better. There isn't one of them who is exactly as we think they are at first. (The vet, for example; the image of him trying to save the cows! Norm may not like him, but the guy is great in an emergency.) I'm glad.

What I learned from this book? How crucial it is that we encourage each other. Jim Lynch says it better, "...where he could look at his boat alone and anew through the lens of Madeline's confidence." p.288, paperback. May we help others look anew through the lens of our confidence in them. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Amazon.com Review Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: Preternaturally tall and painfully innocent, Brandon Vanderkool is more bird than border patrol agent, prone to mimicking birdsong and building nests. But he's also a remarkably acute defender of a North American border that Jim Lynch describes as "multiple-choice...with incoming settlers finding an American, a Canadian, and a compromise in-between" in Border Songs. Brandon is a rookie agent on a streak of successful smuggling busts during a period when border traffic is at an all-time high, bringing a swift and seismic stroke of change to a corner of the continent that once felt settled and secure. It takes a special kind of wordsmith to create a character like Brandon--and indeed, to craft his whole supporting cast, who are by turns ordinary and ornery (in a way that might remind you of the best moments of Northern Exposure). Jim Lynch writes with enviable restraint, and he sees in a most unexpected way how a person's life clicks and tumbles into (or out of) place. His turns of phrase are as light as a feather, but so precise and purposeful that you'll quickly find yourself buoyed by the vistas they show you. --Anne Bartholomew
A Q&A with Jim Lynch
Question: What was your inspiration for Border Songs? Were there any actual incidents on the Canadian/U.S. border that gave rise to the idea for this novel? Jim Lynch: I got hooked on the notion of setting a novel along the border after several trips up there as a journalist looking into security fears and marijuana smuggling. The western end of the border is not only gorgeous but a mindbender, too, seeing how the two countries are often divided by nothing more than a drainage ditch. Just the sight of the ever increasing number of green-and-white Border Patrol cars traversing the quiet farmlands was enough to get the novel rolling in my head. And yes, there were many news flashes on both sides of the ditch that helped inspire this story. Q: Did you have to do much research for this novel? Ride around with border-patrol agents? Talk to folks who might have some insight into running a vast and highly organized marijuana smuggling business? Or operating a dairy farm? How close to the border do you yourself live? JL: I did lots of research, first as a reporter, then as a novelist. The Border Patrol tripled its northern force during the two years after 9/11. But when I rode along with agents it became obvious that nobody was catching terrorists. What they were primarily doing was intercepting huge loads of British Columbia marijuana bound for big cities in the West. I watched agents marvel like teenagers over piles of potent buds. I interviewed Canadian activists and growers and found the B.C. marijuana scene amusing. While the U.S. government beefed up its drug war and called pot a deadly gateway drug, Canada flirted with legalization and grew so much marijuana indoors that Forbes called "B.C. bud" the province's largest agricultural export. One grinning smoker/grower explained to me that “the problem with Americans is that you’re so euphoriaphobic.” My research also included hanging out on a small dairy farm. I read books on birds, dyslexia, autism and landscape art too. I live about 150 miles south of the border. Q: The idea of borders--between places, between people, between the natural world and the man-made, between past and future ways of life--runs through this novel. When you set out to write a story that takes place on an actual border, did you have all these bigger themes in mind? JL: I was aware of the parallels as they arose, but I didn’t set out to create them. I trusted the setting, the characters and the material and tried to harness all the potential as the story evolved. My lasting impression of the Canadian border is that it’s there to create an illusion of security. It feels arbitrary and, in many ways, nonsensical, which is probably an apt description for most of the borders we erect between each other and between generations, eras and places. The closer you look at the western half of the border, the sillier it gets. It's supposed to follow the invisible 49th parallel, but the thin and imprecise boundary overgrows too fast for crews wielding chainsaws and weed whackers to maintain it. Many miles of it aren’t defined or patrolled, yet that doesn’t stop the recurring cries to “Secure the border!” This all struck me as provocative and comic material. Q: Brandon Vanderkool is such a wonderful character and certainly an unlikely hero. Where did he come from? He seems in some respects a counterpart to Miles, the protagonist of your first novel, The Highest Tide. But while Miles is exceptionally short, Brandon's exceptionally tall; and whereas Miles is fascinated by marine life, Brandon's passion is focused skyward toward birds. Not a coincidence, I'm guessing? JL: I’ve always admired highly observant people. So it probably makes sense that I’ve created a couple protagonists who tune into cool stuff that most of us miss. I wanted to create a rookie Border Patrol agent who was oddly and uniquely suited for the work despite his youth and awkwardness. Brandon is the one agent who’s lived along the border his whole life, so he notices what doesn’t belong. He's also far more alert than the average agent, in part because he's constantly scanning the terrain for unusual birds and opportunities for landscape art. In the beginning, I made Brandon so tall to amuse myself. But once he started to emerge on the page his extreme height seemed to fit his extreme mind and it was too late to make him anything other than exactly what he is. Q: A real wonder for and reverence of the natural world pervades your novels. What in your life has fueled your interest in nature? JL: I’ve spent most of my years in western Washington state, which is a soggy wonderland of mountains, bays and forests. We arguably don’t have all that much history or culture out here, but we’ve got some of the finest rain forests, glaciers and tidal flats in the world. Many of the moments I’ve felt most alive have been in these settings--hiking, sailing, climbing, laughing. Q: Of Brandon you write, "Some people blamed his oddities on his dyslexia, which was so severe that one glassy-eyed pediatrician called it a gift: While he might never learn how to spell or read better than the average fourth grader, he’d always see things the rest of us couldn’t." Are you suggesting that it takes someone who literally sees things most people don't--and perhaps someone who is (literally) larger than life--to begin to straddle these borders? JL: What you get with Brandon is someone who simply sees very clearly. Most of our minds are cluttered with to-do lists, our vision clouded by preconceptions. Brandon just sees things as they are, which makes him exceptional. Sometimes that helps him straddle or overcome borders, but it often leaves him on the outside looking in. I’ve known oddly gifted dyslexics and have been intrigued when dyslexics and autistics describe their mental process as “thinking in pictures.” Temple Grandin's books explained to me how her autism makes it nearly impossible to socialize but gives her a big advantage in understanding animals. During this same research binge, videos of Andy Goldsworthy’s temporary landscape art gave me ideas on the sort of impromptu art Brandon might attempt while patrolling the border. The more I got to know him, the more appropriate it felt to put him at the center of this unusual setting and story. Q: Brandon's father, Norm, is in danger of losing his farm, and his mother, Jeanette, in danger of losing her memory. It seems these two potential loses are related to a bigger sense of the loss of a way of life. As you write, "...what pissed Norm off even more than dairies turning into berry farms was dairies turning into cul-de-sacs or toy ranches for the rich. And worst of all was when the rich left the barns and silos standing out of some do-gooder nostalgia for an America they never knew." Are we as a country losing our memory? JL: We have a short history and short memories to go with it, especially in the West where most people come from somewhere else and few families have been here for more than a few generations. What I was trying to capture with Norm was this sense that you can suddenly look around and find yourself stranded, left behind in yesterday’s America, which is how most family farmers have been feeling for years. Jeanette’s sudden dementia is a different, more personal loss, but carries a similar uneasy jolt that what you took for granted has already slipped away. Q: Border Songs is populated by so many interesting people. Is there any one character in the novel you most identify with? JL: I identify with them all to some degree--with Wayne's irreverence, Madeline's recklessness, Sophie's curiosity, Brandon's fascination--but Norm’s hopeful, worrying, temptation-addled mind made him the easiest character for me to climb inside. Q: Who are some of your favorite writers, and what's next for you? JL: Ken Kesey, Ian McEwan, John Steinbeck, Joan Didon, Raymond Carver, Richard Price, Tom Robbins, Robert Penn Warren, Kent Haruf, etc. I’m now researching a novel that I want to set in Seattle. I’d say more about it but I'd rather not jinx it. (Photo © Cortney Kelley) From Publishers Weekly Lynch digs into the strange culture of a U.S.-Canada border town in his lush second novel (after The Highest Tide). Brandon Vanderkool, the town freak people talk about the way they discuss earthquakes, eclipses and other phenomena, is pushed into joining the Border Patrol by his dairy-farmer father. Though the dyslexic, six-foot-eight Brandon prefers to bird-watch and tend to the cows on his father's farm, he proves to be surprisingly adept at spotting drug smugglers and illegal immigrants, which brings a wave of attention to both him and the town. The illegal goings-on provide excellent plot fodder, though the novel is equally concerned with smalltown life: Brandon's mother is noticing the first sign of Alzheimer's; his father's struggling dairy farm hits a low point when his herd becomes diseased; a local masseuse records the town's activities with her camera; and the beautiful, enigmatic Madeline provides an object of affection for Brandon. Lynch's depiction of the natural world and his deep sympathy for his characters carry the book, and while it's a bit quiet, there are majestic moments. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

By the acclaimed author of The Highest Tide, a story of contrary destinies that are further complicated by the border that separates them.Brandon Vanderkool’s extreme dyslexia and height give him a peculiar perspective, which proves handy once his father pushes him off their Washington dairy farm into the Border Patrol. Though he used to just jump over the ditch into British Columbia, he’s uncomfortable in this uniformed role and instead indulges his obsession with birds and art while incidentally spotting smugglers and illegal immigrants who are provoking an already paranoid society. Drug mansions in the Canadian highlands peer down into berry farms that might offer convenient routes into the American market, where politicians clamor for increased security. Closer to home, Brandon’s father battles disease in his herd and his mother something far worse. Madeline Rousseau, who grew up right across the ditch, has seen her gardening skills turn lucrative, while her father replicates great past inventions and rails against imperialism. And overseeing everything is a mysterious masseuse who knows everybody’s secrets.Rich in characters contending with a swiftly changing world and their own elusive hopes and dreams, Border Songs is at once comic, tender, and momentous—a riveting portrait of a distinctive community, an inventive love story, and fiction of the highest order. ( )
Flere brugere har rapporteret denne anmeldelse som misbrug af betingelserne for brug. Det er derfor fjernet (vis).
  buffygurl | Mar 8, 2019 |
A fun satirical story about life on the border, the NORTHERN border. Brandon is a extremely tall dyslexic who is obsessed with art and birds. To get away from his family's dairy farm, get gets on the Border Patrol. Working primarily to capture illegal aliens and drug runners, he is somewhat preternaturally good at his job. Written in 2009, but given Canada's legalization of marijuana, it is a very "current" book. Really funny and worth the time.

"Everyone knows a CIA lab in Laos refined heroin in the seventies," Duval began, as if answering a question. "Then they used Noriega, of course, to trade guns for coke with the Contras in the eighties. Remember that? And in the nineties, it's undisputed that the agency supplied the camels to haul opium to labs along the Afghan-Paki order. So why would the U.S. allow the legalization of cannabis when it knows it would forfeit its ability to manipulate the world?" ( )
  mahsdad | Nov 21, 2018 |
Viser 1-5 af 28 (næste | vis alle)
.... Lynch has written an anti-thriller thriller, not just a liberal critique of the war on terror but also a moving, optimistic rebuttal of our paranoia that encourages us to imagine, with Brandon, the possibility of flying over everything that divides us.
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When severely dyslexic Brandon Vanderkool is forced to join the Border Patrol, he learns the border is a haven for illegal drug smugglers and other criminals. Meanwhile, disease has struck his father's herd, and his mother is battling something even more debilitating. Each will have to fight for hope in a world changing too fast.

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