Northern Borders: A Novel

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Overview

Northern Borders is Mosher’s nostalgic novel of life in northern Vermont’s Kingdom County, as told by a man remembering his boyhood. In 1948 six-year-old Austen Kittredge III leaves his widowed father to live with his paternal grandparents on their farm in the township of Lost Nation. Escapades at the county fair, doings at the annual family reunion and Shakespeare performance, and conflicts at the one-room schoolhouse are all recounted lovingly in this enchanting coming-of-age story filled with luminous memories...

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Northern Borders: A Novel

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Overview

Northern Borders is Mosher’s nostalgic novel of life in northern Vermont’s Kingdom County, as told by a man remembering his boyhood. In 1948 six-year-old Austen Kittredge III leaves his widowed father to live with his paternal grandparents on their farm in the township of Lost Nation. Escapades at the county fair, doings at the annual family reunion and Shakespeare performance, and conflicts at the one-room schoolhouse are all recounted lovingly in this enchanting coming-of-age story filled with luminous memories and the deepest of childhood secrets, as a boy is molded into a man.

When Austen Kittredge was sent to live on his grandparents' farm, little did he know that he would spend the next 12 years there, or that his remarkable stay would never leave him. An enchanting, startling coming-of-age novel, Northern Borders evokes the sublime imagery of county fairs, heirloom quilts and timber forests, while it gently adheres to your heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Haunting, pastoral images and odd, unforgettable characters pervade this spellbinding tale of rural northern Vermont in the late 1940s and 1950s. Through the memories of Austen Kittredge III, who lived on his grandparents' farm in Lost Nation Hollow from age six to 18, Mosher (A Stranger in the Kingdom) fashions a moving tribute to the rugged lifestyle and strong individualistic values of an era that is vanishing even as young Austen discovers it. From his hard-working, misanthropic grandfather, the self-proclaimed ``meanest old bastard in Kingdom County,'' and his equally willful grandmother Abiah, fascinated by Egyptology and constantly battling with her husband, Austen receives a unique education, filled with dramatic introductions to nature, history and the fascinating people (many of them family) that make up his ``Kingdom.'' Mosher's understated prose and mastery of affectionate detail bring to life Austen's remembered world with vivid immediacy and great poignancy. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Near the end of this wonderful book, an FBI agent declares, "I don't understand this place at all." The poor, confused soul was referring to Lost Nation Hollow, an area of Vermont near the Canadian border that is so remote that electricity did not arrive there until the mid-1950s. In 1948, six-year-old Austen Kittredge comes to the hollow, sent by his widowed father to live with his obstreperous grandparents. As Austen grows to manhood, he begins to understand the constant, often hilarious battles of will between them. The young man also becomes a confidant to both adults as they summon Austen into their secret worlds-his grandmother's "Egypt" room and his grandfather's map-filled hunting cabin, known as "Labrador." This thoughtful coming-of-age tale by the author of A Stranger in the Kingdom (LJ 9/1/89) contains memorable characters, excellent writing, and even a little wisdom. Buy wherever good fiction is read.-A.J. Wright, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham
School Library Journal
YA-Reading this novel is like turning the pages of a family album with its glimpses of friends and relatives. Austen Kittredge carries readers on a quick, sentimental journey back to his growing-up years with his grandparents from 1948-1960. Not warm and fuzzy, they are determined, hard-working, no-nonsense types who adore Austen in their quiet, stern way. Life is primitive in this rural area of Vermont that borders Canada-it snows in May, there's no electricity, and an uneducated schoolmistress who keeps ``good order'' runs the one-room schoolhouse. When Austen turns 18, he and his 72-year-old grandfather explore and map parts of Labrador. The narrator paints a brilliant picture of the territory's beauty and mystique as well as its treachery. This book will appeal even to reluctant readers, and especially to those who enjoyed Olive Anne Burns's Cold Sassy Tree (Ticknor & Fields, 1984). Although few YAs can identify with Austen's lifestyle, they will share his fascination with the strange melange called family.-Linda Diane Townsend, West Potomac High School, Fairfax County, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618240098
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

HOWARD FRANK MOSHER is the author of ten books, including Waiting for Teddy Williams, The True Account, and A Stranger in the Kingdom, which, along with Disappearances, was corecipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. He lives in Vermont.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Lesser Oregon 1
1 The Farm in Lost Nation 5
2 Hannibal Rex 49
3 The Snow Owl 79
4 The Green Mountain Whale 95
5 Down the Coat 126
6 Upland Game 158
7 Lost Nation Calendar 173
8 Family Reunion 194
9 The Season of the Cluster Flies 229
10 Northern Borders 261
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2003

    I Was Moved To Vermont

    I didn't want this fascinating book to end. Its characters were so real, for the time I was reading the book, they became part of my life. I read primarily for enjoyment, and every minute that I spent with Northern Borders was moving and thoughtful. I'm not sure I have ever loaned a copy of a book to as many people as I have this one.

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