Day: March 25, 2013

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

This is my fifth Barbara Kingsolver book. My first of hers was actually her memoirs Animal,Vegetable, Miracle. I absolutely love that book as it is a dream of mine to have a small holding farm like she does. As a result, I like Kingsolver as a person; we share similar interests and philosophies with respect to nature, the environment and more.

I liked her novels Prodigal Summer and Lacuna. Surprisingly, I was less enthused by her most popular work The Poisonwood Bible. I definitely think it has some of the most disturbing and provocative images of her novels, but I found myself a bit cut off from the characters. I was more invested in the leads in her other novels.

Flight Behavior is set in rural Tennessee with a female lead who is intelligent but drained from her life as a housewife with a man she does not love. Kingsolver also writes about rural life in American with respect. She actually reminds me of Thomas Hardy with the way she describes certain nature and farming scenes. Sheep farming is featured heavily in this novel, but the butterfly aspect is also well described.

This book was most like Prodigal Summer, but slightly more somber. As I do not know any one from the rural South, I can not really attest to the veracity and nuances of Dellarobia’s (what a great name too) story. I think Kingsolver also writes her characters with such respect and it is humbling at times to read things in this book.

There is a plot in this novel, but it’s a character study as much as an environmental one. This book does feature the issue of global warming and climate change. While I liked most of the book, my attention seemed to waver a bit towards the end. The ending was unsurprising and sort of just there. It was not deeply profound, but nice.

This novel is not the most exciting read, but for those fans of Kingsolver, I would recommend it and any others who enjoy meditations about climate change in the Americas.

Read March 17-18th 2013.