Once in a while a movie comes out that takes you totally by surprise. That’s what The Barbarian Invasions did for me. I’m not that big into foreign films. So, when I put the DVD in, it was mostly reluctantly. For 99 minutes, I was entranced with the story and the characters. I fell in love with the seemingly unlikable father who, even in the hospital, surrounds himself by his former mistresses. The friends that come to gather around him are a group of vibrant, quirky souls that have small enough roles not to interrupt the main story but who add color while they are on screen. The relationship between the father and his son is the heart of the film and what a believable, realistic relationship it is. There is no canned, Hollywood dialogue here…just two people who have been estranged for a while and are forced together by difficult circumstance. A good film for anyone who is a son, daughter, or even a parent because the film is filled with so much realism that situations like this could occur in anyone’s life.

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I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book which is being released in June. And, wow! I loved this book! Jim Lynch’s descriptions of landscape and nature are pure poetry! If you have read Cormac McCarthy’s books, the scenes describing the nature of the landscape and the wildlife reminded me of his books.

Set at the border of Washington State and Canada, this book is poetry blended with quirky characters right out of the movie “Fargo.” The main character is a bird-watching, bird-calling, dyslexic giant of a man named Brandon who is pushed into the Border Patrol by his cow-farmer father who needs Brandon to make money. And, oh, yeah! Brandon paints birds and portraits of the people he captures crossing the border! Intrigued? Hopefully, because this book is a jewel of a read! Brandon is a natural-born farmer forced into a career he excels at but is not passionate about.

Other characters in this book include Brandon’s father who has across-the-border arguments with his Canadian pot-smoking retired professor who lives behind the farm (and, oh, yeah, the professor spends his time recreating inventions such as Edison’s light bulb); Sophie, the masseuse who “heals” people from both sides of the border and is chronicling everyones’ lives; Madeline, the pot-smoking professor’s daughter; and the list goes on and on.

What is so amazing about this book is how it seamlessly blends the quirky, hilarious moments with the touching, thoughtful, and sorrowful moments. If this intrigues you – definitely get on the waiting list for this book! It is a wonderful read!

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