Borne By Jeff VanDerMeer

Audiobook narrated by Bahni Turpin

Borne was a book that I’ve been needing to read for some time. If you’re at all familiar with me, you might have an inkling that I’m a bit weird and love the abnormal. Jeff VanDerMeer is known for getting weird in his books and even is responsible for the genre known as “New Weird.”

I’ve purchased his Ambergris series but have yet to read it, and have only watched Annihilation, I’ve not yet read the Area X series. Time is shorter than ever lately working at home, as I don’t get that normal break and lunch time to myself and my reading, it’s now used by helping the kids and giving my wife a break.

Having purchased the Borne audiobook and a first edition, which I’ve included 2 photos of, a month or two back, I finally got started on it.

In a number of ways it was exactly as I expected, but also nothing like I expected, or could have imagined. The descriptions of this book, really can’t do it justice. Reviews might be a little pointless too, but I think I always feel that way, and that’s the challenge for me. How to breakdown a piece of art that is hundreds of pages and takes hours to soak in, and understand, what the art is conveying.

I ended up loving the the strange, dystopian world, and the main characters in this book. 

The story is seen thru the main character of Rachel, a young women, a scavenger, a resident of a dwelling in the Balcony Cliffs residence. She lives with, but seperate from a man named Wick. He works with scavenged BioTech, he is a holder of secrets, and he enjoys working next to his biotech pool. Among many other things, he is a former employee of The Company. More to come about the company.

So we have met Rachel, we have met Wick, and now we meet Borne.

Borne is something Rachel finds while scanvenging. Borne starts out as something Rachel is not sure about as far as if it’s a plant, animal, some clump of biotech, but she decides to take it, and care for it.

I will provide some quote for the descriptions of Borne from the book, I couldn’t adequately describe Borne. A squidlike flower that grows by selling things bigger than itself, with an incredible ability to mimic an old lady walking down the street…see! Can’t do it. Here’s a quote from the author:

The Company, as we find out is responsible for the decay and destruction of this world. It seems to be Earth, in my mind, I kept thinking Florida, maybe Miami. The company let’s loose biotech that sets the delicate balance of nature way off. It results in the fall of normal society, government, and anything else that we enjoy in today’s world. The book does a great job of portraying their day in day out struggles in this type of setting. Yes, it’s bleak. But the abberations in the world, create a lot of color for the reader.

And then there’s Mord. Much of the struggles stem from Mord. He is the ultimate company leftover. A bear the size of a building, a smart, talking bear with minions, or proxy’s. A bear that has a purpose. A bear that is all those things, including an evil bent towards destruction, and, oh yeah, he flies.

“We all just want to be people, and none of us know what that really means.”

― Jeff VanderMeer, Borne

There are times when the book went a bit slow and meloncholy, especially when Rachel is remembering her past. It’s sorta sad, but it does gives us the only glimpse into where she comes from, and what other parts of this futuristic, disaster fuelled, type of world, are like.

The story is quite an adventure. As Borne grows and learns, the relationship between Rachel and Wick become strained, and Borne continues to surprise and mystify. Hilarious at times, and downright questionable in his intentions. The weirdness is real in this book, and as the ending comes, the stakes grow. There is a magician, hybrid children, and a strange bird that all weave in and through this book.

The ending satisfies with a twist that really adds layers to the story, including the emotional aspect of the characters, and how I cared for them. Borne was a piece of art, and I am excited to continue with this series.

Also, having the audiobook, I would like to give credit to Bahni Turpin who voiced all the characters perfectly. She was not a hinderence to a story that most would find challenging to bring to life. Awesome job!!

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