EPS Review #140 - The Highest Tide

The Highest Tide, by Jim Lynch, Bloomsbury 2005, 247pp.(1979), 400pp.

Ross, his grandfather, and his fish Patricia recommended that everyone read this book while we swam and fished the late summer days away by my father's pond in Princeton, Massachusetts. Only Ross and I took up the invitation. I read it quickly. It is a nice coming of age story, with these ingredients: a thirteen year old boy (Miles), the marine life in Puget sound, the friend who talks only about sex, Rachel Carson, the older neighbor girl who is troubled and desirable, her father who respects Miles, and the crazy old lady who predicts the future. I liked the reflections on natural history, the outdoors, and the early-adolescent obsession with science (shades of Uncle Tungsten). Miles is on occasion unbelievably competent at comeback lines for his age. The nearly miraculous giant squid and oarfish and prophetic crone could be irritatingly trite, but instead are handled well. The prose style was good but not so good that I remember any.

And what did our own thirteen year old, who spent many hours with his stepmother in the Princeton library, think of it? All Ross would vouchsafe was that he liked it. He has never willingly summarised a story, and is entering the monosyllabic years. He has a bit of the fish magic, though.