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Border Music

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Most people don't run out the back door of a place called the Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they don't even know, get in a pickup truck, drive all day, and end up without any clothes on in a motel room. But that's what Texas Jack Carmine did with Linda Lobo. It was the kind of thing Jack was famous for doing. The people who knew Texas Jack Carmine - such a Most people don't run out the back door of a place called the Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they don't even know, get in a pickup truck, drive all day, and end up without any clothes on in a motel room. But that's what Texas Jack Carmine did with Linda Lobo. It was the kind of thing Jack was famous for doing. The people who knew Texas Jack Carmine - such as songwriter Bobby McGregor and Jack's uncle Vaughn Rhomer back in Iowa - called him God's only freeborn soul, rider of the summer roads, traveler of the far places. Where he was headed with dark-haired, long-legged Linda was not just back to his one-horse Texas ranch. It was somewhere he had never been: face to face with his own heart and the wild, strange things that live there. Border Music is the story of Jack and Linda, of long, hot days on a high desert ranch, nights wild with loving beneath West Texas skies, and times when their relationship tears them both apart. It's about Vietnam and the Midwest, and Vaughn Rhomer, an old man who tries in his own fumbling way to be free. It's about men and women who work hard and care intensely, about romance and the passion that you only find once...and you never stop wanting to find again.


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Most people don't run out the back door of a place called the Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they don't even know, get in a pickup truck, drive all day, and end up without any clothes on in a motel room. But that's what Texas Jack Carmine did with Linda Lobo. It was the kind of thing Jack was famous for doing. The people who knew Texas Jack Carmine - such a Most people don't run out the back door of a place called the Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they don't even know, get in a pickup truck, drive all day, and end up without any clothes on in a motel room. But that's what Texas Jack Carmine did with Linda Lobo. It was the kind of thing Jack was famous for doing. The people who knew Texas Jack Carmine - such as songwriter Bobby McGregor and Jack's uncle Vaughn Rhomer back in Iowa - called him God's only freeborn soul, rider of the summer roads, traveler of the far places. Where he was headed with dark-haired, long-legged Linda was not just back to his one-horse Texas ranch. It was somewhere he had never been: face to face with his own heart and the wild, strange things that live there. Border Music is the story of Jack and Linda, of long, hot days on a high desert ranch, nights wild with loving beneath West Texas skies, and times when their relationship tears them both apart. It's about Vietnam and the Midwest, and Vaughn Rhomer, an old man who tries in his own fumbling way to be free. It's about men and women who work hard and care intensely, about romance and the passion that you only find once...and you never stop wanting to find again.

30 review for Border Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian Holland

    I found this book in a bargain bin a few years back and finally got around to reading it only recently. I was happy I did, because it was quite interesting and different from what I had expected. No big surprises or stunning twists, but a nice flow all the same. Waller's writing style fits the characters in his story, and he writes from the angle of the Texas cowboy or other southern rugged, feral type. Raw and unrefined. 'Border Music' is the story of untamed love, of romance initiated on a whi I found this book in a bargain bin a few years back and finally got around to reading it only recently. I was happy I did, because it was quite interesting and different from what I had expected. No big surprises or stunning twists, but a nice flow all the same. Waller's writing style fits the characters in his story, and he writes from the angle of the Texas cowboy or other southern rugged, feral type. Raw and unrefined. 'Border Music' is the story of untamed love, of romance initiated on a whim. It is the story of Jack Carmine and Linda Lobo, a drifter in a pickup truck and a sexy barroom dancer who meet and decide to take a chance with each other. Sometimes a man will simply be a man, a drifter always a drifter as well; love dwindles and fades, and events become uncontrollable; fate takes control. Life gets on in years and the past appears as a dream. We know, ourselves, how much we'd love to grasp it and hold onto it one more time, but it's gone forever, leaving only faded memories. Country singer, Bobby McGregor, Jack's close friend, eventually realizes that his memories make him smile and reminisce, as he longs for the good ol' days to re-emerge. Uncle Vaughn Rhomer leaves in search of a dream, too, yearning for the experience himself, in search of his nephew also. Maybe it's Jack who has the right idea, God's freeborn soul, for even though he longs for Linda, his true love, his heart calls on him to wander ... keeping life fresh, free, and unpredictable. Don't look back, Jack Carmine. Though it's for women also, this is a love story for men, which is somewhat rare. Waller pulled it off nicely.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    What an incredible story and story telling by Waller. It made me think about how people who think they are free spirits, living life their own way, really aren't unless they have a strong supporting cast of family and friends. Waller always seems to nail emotion to the wall, strip it of pretense while keeping you entertained and quickly turning those pages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raina

    I really enjoyed this book. Not much happens in it, but the writing is so pure and clear and true, even though it is written in a West Texas drawl. Reading a book about West Texas during a Stockholm winter was strange, but the writing was so vivid that it completely transported me to West Texas, a place I know well and love deeply. This was a book permeated by place, and even though only a small fraction of the book actually took place in West Texas, the sense of West Texas, the feel and traditi I really enjoyed this book. Not much happens in it, but the writing is so pure and clear and true, even though it is written in a West Texas drawl. Reading a book about West Texas during a Stockholm winter was strange, but the writing was so vivid that it completely transported me to West Texas, a place I know well and love deeply. This was a book permeated by place, and even though only a small fraction of the book actually took place in West Texas, the sense of West Texas, the feel and traditions and sensibilities of West Texas run throughout the book, even when the narrator is in Minnesota or Iowa or wherever. This book will also set your feet a'itchin' and make you want to roam! Like "A Thousand Country Roads," this book is peppered with brilliant little insights about life and love. (I'll send these to you, too, Jennifer when I've typed them up!)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    Classic Waller, the fractured tale of Texas Jack, Linda Lobo, and the friends and family they influence through their lives. If you have a taste for fictional adventure, heavily sprinkled with philosophy and dreamer's lament, you'll enjoy this novel of love, dreams, finding and losing yourself midst West Texas skies.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dmehringer

    Here's a man who rescues a stripper, drives away with her in his truck, then drives and talks from MN to TX. The storytelling is so slow and repetitive, with whole chapters of books quoted, song lyrics quoted, and me not caring. I quit. I can't read this book. I'd rather clean the basement.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    This was my first book by James Waller. I really liked it. It started out kind of slow but once it picked up, it really held my interest. It’s a story about Texas Jack Carmine, a drifter, a free spirited cowboy who takes life as it is. Sadly, he’s tormented by his past and PTSD, and even though he finds the woman of his dreams his past destroys his chance at happiness. I thought the plot was great, sad but realistic. Character development was also very good. I think I’m going to read more of Wal This was my first book by James Waller. I really liked it. It started out kind of slow but once it picked up, it really held my interest. It’s a story about Texas Jack Carmine, a drifter, a free spirited cowboy who takes life as it is. Sadly, he’s tormented by his past and PTSD, and even though he finds the woman of his dreams his past destroys his chance at happiness. I thought the plot was great, sad but realistic. Character development was also very good. I think I’m going to read more of Waller’s books.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Farr

    I could not stop wanting to be done with this book. It was somehow pretentious AND low brow at the same time. I've greatly enjoyed Walker's other books, but this is clearly his,weakest work. The narrative begins and ends through the eyes of a character that isn't really in the storyline much. It breaks up the story in a disjointed way. Like, though the story is nonexistent and we don't grow to love the characters, it's annoying that those characters aren't finishing the story with us. I could not stop wanting to be done with this book. It was somehow pretentious AND low brow at the same time. I've greatly enjoyed Walker's other books, but this is clearly his,weakest work. The narrative begins and ends through the eyes of a character that isn't really in the storyline much. It breaks up the story in a disjointed way. Like, though the story is nonexistent and we don't grow to love the characters, it's annoying that those characters aren't finishing the story with us. There was really nothing good about this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    A friend is reading this and it reminded me that I read this dreadful book as well. I had loved The Bridges of Madison County so picked this book and another one of his up. SO disappointed. Blech. I do not even remember what it was about as I forgot it as soon as I read it. Meh.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I kept waiting for something to happen in this book. It never did.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    I have become an unwitting fan of Robert James Waller. I enjoyed this book, Border Music, and also two other books by the author that I have read, The Bridges of Madison County and Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend. I can't tell you right now why I liked them, but I was not sorry that i spent the time reading them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diego Palomino

    This book is about the journey and not the destination. The writing is beautiful but there isn't much of a story. If you are the kind of reader looking for action and twists and turns don't waste your time. If on the other hand you are a romantic, you will have reached nirvana. I do appreciate the message of the book but I really prefer a book with more of a plot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aria

    Utterly pointless. I mean it. Pretty sure this was put out b/c the publisher knew people would buy anything with the words "By The Author Of The Bridges Of Madison County" on the cover. I have to wonder about the author, if he even tried, or if this was just a check-cashing venture. No bloody point to it, whatsoever. Nothing more to be said about it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kat Richter

    I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. It was almost poetic. Other than that, though, the story was sort of split into two related stories, with the main one being a slow but inevitable ride downhill.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    One of the masters of the romantic novel missed the mark with this. It had it’s moments to be fair, but too few of them to compensate for the mediocrity of the rest

  15. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    Another great book by Robert James Waller.I have read about every book he has published and I love them all. You just sit back and enjoy the ride. Great Author!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Something about the way this man writes - so comfortable

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy Benvin

    Boring.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    One of the most boring books I’ve ever read. I should’ve put this down multiple times. I don’t know why I finished it. Oh well I guess.

  19. 5 out of 5

    James

    This was a Waller book and I enjoy his writing style. With that said, this was not one of his better stories.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Betty Morrissey

    Some really poignant moments.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Veronica Harris

    Almost didn't finish because of slow start, but preserved and was rewarded by an enjoyable read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    I remember absolutely loving Bridges of Madison County, so much that I bought two more of Waller’s books. I also enjoyed Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, and I have finally gotten around to reading Border Music. I didn’t like this one quite as well. The basics of the writing are as beautiful as I remember: “Dawn, and the moon sat full and fat on I-10, looking as if you could go right through it in a mile or two.” Like that. Lovely. But the dialogue in this one seemed very scripted, long, draw I remember absolutely loving Bridges of Madison County, so much that I bought two more of Waller’s books. I also enjoyed Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, and I have finally gotten around to reading Border Music. I didn’t like this one quite as well. The basics of the writing are as beautiful as I remember: “Dawn, and the moon sat full and fat on I-10, looking as if you could go right through it in a mile or two.” Like that. Lovely. But the dialogue in this one seemed very scripted, long, drawn-out aw-shucks-ma’am speeches rather than people actually making conversation. But then, maybe people talk that way in West Texas. I’ve never been there. This story didn’t move much, either. It kept me turning the pages, but the events are almost more internal than external. It was decent and Jack Carmine and Linda Lobo are likeable enough and the story kept me entertained, but I preferred the first two Waller books I read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    From the same author who wrote "Bridges of Madison County". Great read this was!! From the dust jacket: "Most people don't run out the back door of a place called the Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they don't even know, get in a pickup truck, drive all day, and end up without any clothes on in a motel room. But that's what Texas Jack Carmine did with Linda Lobo. It was the kind of thing Jack was famous for doing. The people who knew Texas Jack Carmine-s From the same author who wrote "Bridges of Madison County". Great read this was!! From the dust jacket: "Most people don't run out the back door of a place called the Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they don't even know, get in a pickup truck, drive all day, and end up without any clothes on in a motel room. But that's what Texas Jack Carmine did with Linda Lobo. It was the kind of thing Jack was famous for doing. The people who knew Texas Jack Carmine-such as songwriter Bobby McGregor and Jack's uncle Vaughn Rhomer back in Iowa-called him God's only freeborn soul, rider of the summer roads, traveler of the far places. Where he was headed with dark haired, long legged Linda was not just back to his one horse Texas ranch. It was somewhere he had never been: face to face with his own heart and the wild, strange things that live there...."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    There are two storylines going in this novel. One pertains to Jack Carmine, a Vietnam vet who lives on a ranch in Texas in the winter and frequently drives a combine in Minnesota in the summer. The other pertains to Vaughn Rhomer, Jack's uncle, who is in Iowa. Jack is a real free spirit, while it seems Vaughn envies that and is looking to be free. The chapters basically alternate between the two men and the people they know and the identities and demons they face. Re-read in 2012 to rate. There are two storylines going in this novel. One pertains to Jack Carmine, a Vietnam vet who lives on a ranch in Texas in the winter and frequently drives a combine in Minnesota in the summer. The other pertains to Vaughn Rhomer, Jack's uncle, who is in Iowa. Jack is a real free spirit, while it seems Vaughn envies that and is looking to be free. The chapters basically alternate between the two men and the people they know and the identities and demons they face. Re-read in 2012 to rate. This is easily my least favorite of the three Waller books I've read and I'm glad I didn't read this before reading the others, as I might not have gone there if I had. I felt this had less story line and and flow than the others. I also fail to see how the title fits...other than that there are a lot of song lyrics scattered throughout.

  25. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    BORDER MUSIC - NR Waller, Robert James Most people dont run out the back door of a place called The Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they dont even know, get in a pick-up truck, dive all day, and end up in a motel room. But thats exactly what Jack Carmine and Linda Lobo did. Texas Jack Carmine was Gods only freeborn soul, rider of the summer roads, traveler of far places.. Where he was headed with dark-haired, long-legged Linda Lobo was somewhere he had never been b BORDER MUSIC - NR Waller, Robert James Most people dont run out the back door of a place called The Rainbow Bar in Dillon, Minnesota, with someone they dont even know, get in a pick-up truck, dive all day, and end up in a motel room. But thats exactly what Jack Carmine and Linda Lobo did. Texas Jack Carmine was Gods only freeborn soul, rider of the summer roads, traveler of far places.. Where he was headed with dark-haired, long-legged Linda Lobo was somewhere he had never been before: face-to-face with his own heart and the wild things that live there. Yup, this is the same guy who wrote "Bridges of Madison County." This book started out well, but lost it focus. I just can't recommend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    I loved this book, but feel just a tiny bit embarassed by it. It's beautiful writing, but seems like it was manufactured specifically for the market that enjoys it.. The character of Texas Jack Carmine is incredibly colorful and you grow to really like him by the end of the book, though there seems no good reason for it. As with Bridges of Madison County, you can be frustrated at the characters--there seems to be absolutely no reason for them to make some of the decisions that you do. Is this pe I loved this book, but feel just a tiny bit embarassed by it. It's beautiful writing, but seems like it was manufactured specifically for the market that enjoys it.. The character of Texas Jack Carmine is incredibly colorful and you grow to really like him by the end of the book, though there seems no good reason for it. As with Bridges of Madison County, you can be frustrated at the characters--there seems to be absolutely no reason for them to make some of the decisions that you do. Is this personal tragedy, or just people being thick?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joy Gerbode

    I didn't enjoy this book at all. It's not that it was written badly, particularly, although I didn't care for the jumping around in both character and time from chapter to chapter. Made it hard for me to keep track of what was going on. The big thing was, though, I didn't really care what was going on. There was nothing in this book that made me really want to know what was going to happen. Put that together with the fact that it was kind of "smutty" for lack of a better word. Just didn't appeal I didn't enjoy this book at all. It's not that it was written badly, particularly, although I didn't care for the jumping around in both character and time from chapter to chapter. Made it hard for me to keep track of what was going on. The big thing was, though, I didn't really care what was going on. There was nothing in this book that made me really want to know what was going to happen. Put that together with the fact that it was kind of "smutty" for lack of a better word. Just didn't appeal to me at all.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ilyhana Kennedy

    Not a great novel by any stretch. More of a light entertaining read that develops some depth as it progresses. It does have some nice moments with some thoughtful reflections. The theme of the tension between the road and the settled life is compelling in its own way and expands into contemplation around what we do and don't do with our dreams in the life that we have. The theme of borders looks at living excesses unbounded, and the contrast between this and living within constrictive socia Not a great novel by any stretch. More of a light entertaining read that develops some depth as it progresses. It does have some nice moments with some thoughtful reflections. The theme of the tension between the road and the settled life is compelling in its own way and expands into contemplation around what we do and don't do with our dreams in the life that we have. The theme of borders looks at living excesses unbounded, and the contrast between this and living within constrictive socially and self-imposed boundaries. The novel could have been much stronger with such material.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    Remember "The Bridges of Madison County"? This is the 6th book by that author, written in 1993, and is much more complex. It has four characters: a Texas man who refuses to be tied down, his uncle who dreams of freeing himself from a conventional life, a woman the Texas man meets in a strip joint in Minnesota, and his friend who is a singer-songwriter. Their various journeys are woven together in a very entertaining way. I read it in two days and enjoyed the imagery of the cold idwest plains and Remember "The Bridges of Madison County"? This is the 6th book by that author, written in 1993, and is much more complex. It has four characters: a Texas man who refuses to be tied down, his uncle who dreams of freeing himself from a conventional life, a woman the Texas man meets in a strip joint in Minnesota, and his friend who is a singer-songwriter. Their various journeys are woven together in a very entertaining way. I read it in two days and enjoyed the imagery of the cold idwest plains and the hot West Texas high desert (not to mention the joyous sex!).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gopal MS

    I enjoyed reading this book. I think men will like the book more. Most men will know or have been influenced by a character like the hero of this book. A elder brother type who dared to be different and introduced you to an alternate way of thinking or living. I haven't read another book that captured such a relationship. It touches a lot of things very beautifully. The realtionship men share with music, machines and cars, the road, fathers and women...

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