Bewildering Stories

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Marina Fitch's The Border

reviewed by Jerry Wright

Title: "The Border"
Author: Marina Fitch
Ace Books January 1999
Mass market paper, 307 pages
ISBN: 0-441-00594-2
Price: $5.99

Ah, yes... Used Book Stores. My little slice of heaven. Of course, all things considered, I like to buy new stuff, because the authors need the money, but I miss stuff when it comes out, or perhaps walk past it because something else looks more interesting. So I stumbles across The Border by Marina Fitch. Not a name I'm familiar with, but it has a blurb by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, whom I see as pretty trustworthy, so I buys it.

Okay, slipping out of the "fake-folksy" tone, I read the first couple of pages in the store, and bought it, along with China Mountain Zhang by forum regular Maureen McHugh (a really good read, by the way...)

The Border is a story of illegal migrants. First, an illegal immigration from Ireland, where the dad of the family was involved in terrorist activities and had to run for his life to Mexico, where he met and married a beautiful Mexican girl and had two children, Mary and Rose.

When his past catches up with him, he has no choice but to flee across the border. Unfortunately, only he and his elder daughter Mary make it, and his wife, and Rose, are forced back to Mexico. But before "Sean Devlin" aka "Michael Connelly" leaves, he entrusts, or curses, his youngest with a "guardian spirit" formerly called Eileen, but now called "Luz"; Light.

The first half of the book deals with Rose, and her attempts to get across the border, evade "La Migra", deal with her hateful aunt, and hide from the Irish killers, all with the help of Luz. When the border crossing goes horribly wrong, something really strange happens, and...

Part 2 takes up with Teddy, a ceramicist/banjo-player with massive carpal tunnel syndrome, who happens to be close friends with Mary. The book deals with several people, the borders they must either cross, or be stopped by, goat slaying chupacabras, and the wonderful world of origami. But trust me, it all comes together, and even makes sense, although we learn just enough about "Luz" to be frustrated. What is she? Ah well, that is life or something like it.

Marina Fitch is a good author with interesting characters, and as time goes by, no doubt she'll just get better. Guess I'll give this one a "B-".

Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wright