Author Jim Lynch is a master at character development and scene setting. This highly engaging story takes place on the west coast edge of the USA-Canada border. The plot is filled with the sights and sounds of the inhabitants of the region – avian, bovine and human. Their collective activities take place within the radius of several small towns that cluster against the ditch and roads that form the physical elements of the international border.
The humans include dairy farmers, a masseuse with a veiled past, politicians, U.S. Border Patrol officers, marijuana growers, drug smugglers, and illegal aliens. Our hero, Brandon Vanderkool, is a remarkable fellow who possesses the best of human qualities – love of nature, respect for others, gentleness, loving kindness, and strong loyalty. He also has some very amazing powers of observation that tie together the threads of the story line.
Jim Lynch evokes the tone and reverence for nature found in the works of authors Michael Pollan and John McPhee. This reader was fully engaged throughout the book and reluctant to bid adieu to Brandon, his feathered friends, and the rascals that populate the border.
Knopf, $25.95, 291 pages
Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.