Border Songs is an engaging, satisfying and immensely entertaining story. The appeal stems largely from the novel’s main character, Brandon Vanderkool. Brandon is six foot eight, severely dyslexic and has an uncanny affinity for the natural world. Working as a border patrol agent along the U.S. Canada border in Washington state, he indulges his passion for bird-watching while keeping an alert eye to potential terrorists and pot smugglers. The forests and farms of northern Washington are beautifully described and play a key role in the story. It’s in this landscape that Brandon’s father Norm operates a dairy farm. His struggle to maintain his business and look after his animals is described with unerring detail. The plot’s satisfying twists and turns largely focus on industrial marijuana production in British Columbia and its importation into the lower 48, but the most lasting and compelling aspect of Border Songs is the characters–-their originality, vitality, and freshness make this a truly stand-out novel.

Brandon Vanderkool is a gentle giant, a dyslexic border patrol agent working the northern border of Washington and western Canada.  More at home in the woods with animals and birds than he is with people, he’s a natural tracker but somewhat clumsy with bureaucracy.  Border Songs (Knopf, $25.95), by Jim Lynch, tells Brandon’s remarkable, eccentric, and ultimately heroic story.  After 9/11, the once barely-observed border is heavily monitored by cameras and planes, and cross-border neighbors eye each other warily. Add to this a marijuana-smuggling operation based in British Columbia, and Brandon and his fellow agents have a lot on their hands.  With a graceful regard for the natural world and a motley cast of characters, Border Songs is an utterly original and unforgettable novel.

Border Songs (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307456267
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - July 13th, 2010

Pages