Border Songs - Jim Lynch

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) By Jim Lynch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307456267
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - July 13th, 2010

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories - Leo Tolstoy

Even readers previously unconcerned with the questions and technicalities of translation will tell you that Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are incomparable translators of Russian into English. A diverse collection of short stories by Leo Tolstoy is the latest volume to benefit from the couple’s treatment. The Death Of Ivan Ilyich And Other Stories (Knopf, $28.95) is a beautiful hardcover edition of the Russian master’s short works. It draws from both the beginning and the end of Tolstoy’s ambivalent and divided writing career. The collection of eleven stories includes his autobiographical work, “Prisoner of the Caucasus,” and his return to the mountain setting of Chechnya and Dagestan for his final work, a cynical and anti-imperialist novella based on a real-life hero of holy war, “Hadji Murat.”

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories (Vintage Classics) By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by) Cover Image
By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780307388865
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - October 5th, 2010

The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna (HarperCollins, $26.99) is an engrossing historical fiction, told as the journals of Harrison Shepherd, a fictional author who reflects on the crowds, caprices, and injustices of 20th-century North America. This is the first novel in nine years by Barbara Kingsolver, and it boasts her courageous—but always literary—concern for injustice and cultural difference. Born into a confused heritage—his father absent, his mother Mexican—Harrison’s experience encapsulates that of both countries: through his eyes we witness the Bonus Army riots, the murals of Diego Rivera, Trotsky’s assassination, World War II metal drives, and the McCarthy trials. Lively renderings of Frida Kahlo, Trotsky, and even Richard Nixon combine with documentary support from Times articles (authentic and fabricated) and a heartbreaking concern for the fate of truth in the infancy of the media age to create the rare sort of novel that is both totally absorbing in its fiction and yet profoundly engages the reader with the world of fact beyond its pages.

The Lacuna: A Novel By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060852580
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper Perennial - July 20th, 2010