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The Highest Tide

By Jim Lynch

The Highest Tide will remind you why you love the sea

from Bloomsbury Publishing, New York .

“Anyone can tell you where the sun is, but ask where the tides are, and only fishermen, oystermen and deep-keeled sailors will know without looking.”

It has been a long time since I read a book I simply could not put down.  This one, I was compelled to read.  It is not about sailing, but it is about the sea.  It is not a true story, but it has much fact.  It is a magical work of fiction with a naturalists’ touch of truth.  The story is about a young boy, obsessed by Rachel Carson, who sneaks out of his house to explore the tidal flats of Puget Sound every night.  Thirteen year old Miles O’Malley experiences a summer that changes him forever, all because he sees things that others walk past, he cares strongly about everything living, and he says things from a deeply thoughtful perspective. 

While the sea continues to offer up mysterious surprises one summer, life brings him full circle.  He falls in love with the troubled girl next door, navigates through his parents indifference to him and to each other, guards the secrets of a dying friend, saves his best friend from perishing on the flats, provides the media and scientists with renewed enthusiasm, and becomes a divine hero to a group of believers in natural forces.  In each case, he becomes an unwilling hero when all he wishes for is the peace to explore the wonder of the sea. 

In this hauntingly written and occasionally hysterical first novel, Jim Lynch, paints a touching portrait of the mysteries of the sea, the forces of nature, and the human spirit.  Jim lives and sails in Olympia on Puget Sound with his wife and daughter.  Thank you Mr. Lynch.  Might there be a sequel?

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