One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house,
packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what
begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed
by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever
see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac
instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish
in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed
as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to
But Miles is really just a teenager on the verge of growing up, infatuated
with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and
fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him.
While the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths,
Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally
mysterious process of growing up. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought
first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the
coastline that he adores over the course of a summer - one that will culminate
with the highest tide in fifty years.
Library Journal - Lisa Rohrbaugh
Unfortunately, when it comes to his sexual awakening, the novel declines into juvenile mediocrity that contrasts sharply with the remainder of this exquisite tale. Nonetheless, easily recommended for all libraries.
On land, the rickety plot could have used some shoring up.... But when Miles is on the water, Lynch's first novel becomes a stunning light show, both literal, during phosphorescent plankton blooms, and metaphorical, in the poetic fireworks Lynch's prose sets off as he describes his clearly beloved Puget Sound. A celebratory song of the sea.
Starred Review. While occasionally Lynch packs too much into a small story, this moving, unusual take on the summers of childhood conveys a contagious sense of wonder at the variety and mystery of the natural world.
Martha McPhee, author of Gorgeous Lies
Jim Lynch has written a breathtakingly beautiful first novel. At its core is a fabulous metaphor, rising from the ocean to
wrap around his painful story with all the brilliance and mystery of life. That is a big statement. Lynch can carry its weight and then some.
Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love The Highest Tide is a plunge into sustained and intelligent
wonder. Jim Lynch creates a richly tumultuous world on a microcosmic stage. His
characters and events are as complex and surprising as the sea that surrounds
them. He's got me re-reading Rachel Carson and itching for tide pools of my
Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
In The Highest Tide, Jim Lynch has written a masterful first novel,
gracefully weaving together the wonders of the sea and the wonders of our
humanity. Seeing the world through the eyes of his narrator, Miles O'Malley, is
to see the world with a rapturous freshness that is, it seems to me, the essence
of a fine book. This is an exciting debut. I can't wait to see what Jim Lynch
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Melissa Makes me want to dig for clams I listened to this book on audio and loved the author's passion for the sea. I've always loved going to the beach, but don't like going in the water for fear of something slimy brushing up against me. This book made me excited about things like... Read More
Jim Lynch has won national journalism awards and published short fiction in
literary magazines, and spent four years as the Puget Sound reporter for the
Oregonian. A Washington State native, Lynch currently writes and sails from his
home in Olympia, where he lives with his wife and daughter. The Highest Tide is
his first novel.
With Rat, Eberstadt has found a new setting she knows well, the South of France, and the story she tells is original, powerful, and heartrendingabout a childs search for a father she has never known.
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