‘Until I see you vanish into the fog you came out of, I swear I’ll be aiming the rifle at your head. Don’t think I’m joking. I’m no man, I’m a woman!’
Every year, Augusto De Boer undertakes a treacherous journey through the Italian Alps, smuggling his family’s tobacco across the border to Austria. With conditions getting harsher, he decides to take his fifteen-year-old daughter Jole along with him, teaching her how to navigate the perilous crags and valleys while avoiding the nocturnal beasts and hostile customs officers.
Three years later, Jole must retrace their steps alone: her father has not returned from the border. With only her horse for company, she makes her way across the starkly beautiful mountain landscape, hoping to provide sustenance for her family and discover the truth about her father’s disappearance.
Soul Of The Border is a wonderfully complex and beautifully written novel, encompassing the strength of humanity and the harsh, unforgiving beauty of our natural world.
This story strips back human need to it’s very basic levels through the lives and struggles of the De Boer family. Augusto journeys across the border, a difficult and dangerous journey, nevertheless it is required for the very survival of his family. Daughter Jole accompanies him, learning and absorbing, but when one day her Father fails to return she sets off on a solo mission to find him.
The descriptive prose is absolutely gorgeous, absorbing you into this world with it’s simple complexity and harsh realities. The natural environment comes alive around you as you read, the characters live and breathe on the page, it is utterly compelling and hugely immersive.
Soul Of The Border has an inner soul of it’s own, one that speaks to both the heart and the head, a snapshot of a time past and as such is a simply wonderful read.
You can purchase Soul Of The Border (Pushkin Press) Here.