“The new novel from VanderMeer, author of the well-received “Southern Reach” trilogy, is a powerful post-apocalyptic thriller about a young woman living in the ruins of a city that once was home to a biotech firm, who finds and befriends a mysterious squid-like creature in the fur of a giant bear.”
Featured in LA Times’ Best Fiction books of 2017.
“Borne,” the latest novel from Jeff VanderMeer, presents an intriguing story of fascinating beauty, self-sacrifice, and fatal trust. The weird and wonderful hero in this muddled world is Borne, an unfathomable miracle in itself.
Borne is rescued by a young woman named Rachel who lives as a scavenger in a city almost ruined by drought and conflict. The city looks horrible with litters of discarded experiments of a biotech firm which is destroyed by the erratic predations of a giant bear. Rachel finds survival in a run-down sanctuary shared with her partner, Wick who has his own psychoactive biotech.
Rachel finds Borne during one of the scavenging missions. Born as salvage and looking like a green lump, Borne exhibited a strange charisma. Borne’s features bring reminiscences of the marine life from the island nation of Rachel’s birth which was later lost to rising seas alive. She tries her best to resent the attachment with Borne as she knew any association could kill her. Still, going against Wick’s wishes as well as her own instinct’s, Rachel continues her life’s journey with Borne.
In a world torn apart by conflicts, Borne’s phase of learning to speak and his innocent acts seem to be a great relief to Rachel. In Borne’s company, Rachel starts enjoying beauty in the desolated world around her and feels protected by it. The beautiful line in the book, “He was born, but I had borne him,” says it all about her love for him.
However, Borne starts threatening the security of the Sanctuary Rachel shares Wick. It also starts scaring the existence of the company with new enemies. Borne unfolds how pitiable Rachel’s existence has been with her dependence on deception and secrets. In the later series of events, the whole scenario changes with revelations made by Borne to Rachel.