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Flight Behavior: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 6, 2012
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“With her powerful new novel, Kingsolver delivers literary fiction that conveys an urgent social message… a clarion call about climate change, too lucid and vivid for even skeptics to ignore.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
“…Enthralling…Dellarobia is appealingly complex as a smart, curious, warmhearted woman desperate to-no resisting the metaphor here-trade her cocoon for wings.” (Oprah.com)
“A dazzling page-turner” (Elle)
“Kingsolver has written one of the more thoughtful novels about the scientific, financial and psychological intricacies of climate change. And her ability to put these silent, breathtakingly beautiful butterflies at the center of this calamitous and noisy debate is nothing short of brilliant.” (Ron Charles, Washington Post)
“Dellarobia is a smart, fierce, messy woman, and one can’t help rooting for her to find her wings.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Dellarobia is appealingly complex as a smart, curious, warmhearted woman desperate to-no resisting the metaphor here-trade her cocoon for wings.” (O, the Oprah Magazine)
“One of the gifts of a Kingsolver novel is the resplendence of her prose. She takes palpable pleasure in the craft of writing, creating images that stay with the reader long after her story is done…(a) majestic and brave new novel.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Kingsolver has constructed a deeply affecting microcosm of a phenomenon that is manifesting in many different tragic ways, in communities and ecosystems all around the globe. This is a fine and complex novel.” (Seattle Times)
“So captivating is this grand, suspenseful plot and the many subplots rising and falling beneath it that it takes some time before we realize what this story is really about -- climate change.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Spirituality, a troubled marriage, global warming…Kingsolver’s latest is a bold mélange, but it works.” (People)
“Kingsolver is a storyteller first and foremost, as sensitive to human interactions and family dynamics as she is to ecological ones.” (NPR)
“a delicate symbiosis between the sacred and the scientific in this richly rewarding novel that will both entertain and incite its readers.” (BookPage)
“FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a book worth reading twice? first for the intricacies of character, second for the dense, beautiful language Kingsolver puts on the page. She’s a keen observer of the messiness and unexpected beauty of the quotidian.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“By the end of FLIGHT BEHAVIOR, it’s clear that Kingsolver’s passionate voice and her ability to portray the fragility of the natural world, and why we should care about it, are as strong as ever.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Novelists like Kingsolver have a particular knack for making us empathize with lives that may bear little resemblance to our own…What lifts FLIGHT BEHAVIOR…is not just Kingsolver’s nuanced and funny prose; it’s Dellarobia’s awakening to the possibilities around her.” (Julia Ingalls, Salon)
“FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a terrifically entertaining read about a spirited young woman you’ll miss the minute you reach the last page.” (USA Today)
“Marvelous…This is fiction rich in empathy, wit and science. Like the butterflies that astonish Feathertown, Kingsolvian gifts are ‘fierce and wondrous,’ ‘colors moving around like fire.’” (New York Times)
“[Kingsolver’s] keen grasp of delicate ecosystems-both social and natural-keeps the story convincing and compelling.” (The New Yorker)
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Top Customer Reviews
In this story, the survival techniques of the Monarch butterfly, those bright orange, delicate but hardy creatures, and that of a diminutive, flame-haired young woman are inextricably intertwined and analogous. The Monarchs have had an atypical flight behavior this year. Floods and landslides led to felled trees everywhere in their usual roosting place in Mexico. Subsequently, they migrated to Feathertown to overwinter. Why Feathertown? That's the big question that one team of scientists comes to examine. However, they are challenged by the residents, who are skeptical of science-based answers to climate-based questions. In the meantime, residents of Feathertown need to fill their coffers.
Dellarobia Turnbow, 27, has her own kind of flight behaviors, spurred on by too much domestic confinement too soon, and now she is primed to flee, restive--flying from pillar to post, as her mother always said. Unlike the rest of the townspeople, she wasn't as inspired by religion.
"She was a...911 Christian: in the event of an emergency, call the Lord...Jesus was a more reliable backer, less likely to drink himself unconscious or get liver cancer.Read more ›
You know, for example, that the prose is going to be literary, dense, and luscious (take this descriptive line: Summer's heat had never really arrived, nor the cold in turn, and everything living now seemed to yearn for sun with the anguish of the unloved.") You know that the content will focus on some kind of social justice, biodiversity, or environmental issue. You know, too, that at some point, Ms. Kingsolver will cross the line into authorial intrusion based on her passion for the subject she is writing on.
But you keep coming back for more. At least, I do. There is something mesmerizing about a Barbara Kingsolver novel, and something refreshing about a writer who combines a solid scientific background with stunning prose.
This book is entitled Flight Behavior, and for good reason. It opens with a young Appalachian woman - Dellarobia Turnbow - ready to take flight from her shotgun marriage and closed-in life with two young children. On her way up the mountain to engage in an affair, she views an astounding natural phenomenon that changes everything for her.
The core of the novel focuses on that phenomenon,centering on the migratory patterns of the bright orange Monarch butterfly, usually viewed only in Mexico. The topic is climate change and Ms. Kingsolver slashes through the obtuse definitions with language anyone can understand. Dellarobia is paired thematically with a Harvard-educated scientist Ovid Byron, whose lifework is studying the butterflies. He says, "If you woke up one morning, Dellarobia, and one of your eyes had moved to the side of your head, how would you feel about that?Read more ›
My first Kingsolver read was The Bean Trees, which centers around a girl desperate to get out of her small, hick town where most of the girls are pregnant before they even leave high school. She wants to be one of the ones to leave and never come back. Through some odd circumstances, she finds herself stuck raising a baby that's not hers, sort of falling into motherhood. The plot itself didn't have much appeal for me as a reader, but the book was utterly compelling and I loved it so much. Kingsolver's powerful writing and intriguing, quirky characters pulled me in despite myself.
In Flight Behavior, Kingsolver again focuses on a heroine who had dreams of escaping her hick town, but this one didn't make it. Dellarobia hoped to go to college, but wound up pregnant instead. Even worse, the baby boy died, leaving her stuck in a marriage with a man she doesn't respect and reliant on judgmental in-laws. Her unhappiness manifests itself in a wandering eye; she has had a number of crushes on men, flirted with the idea of an affair. The hook of the novel is when Dellarobia heads up the mountain to meet with one of her men and cheat on her husband. On her way, she sees the forest burning with butterflies, and interprets that as a sign from God that she needs to go back to her life and make good.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a reader, not a writer. I loved this book and recommend it to fellow readers.Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
A good read, with disappointingly awkward finish; a good story without a finish!Published 8 days ago by Pen Name
I really really wanted to like this book, but I did not. I did learn a lot about butterflies. At a lengthy 610 Kindle pages, it seemed to go on much longer than it's actual... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Mary
I was surprised by the ending but it was appropriate. I'm still thinking about the book and i'm sure I will ponder it for awhile as Kingsolver's books do that to mePublished 20 days ago by Marcy Worden
Did not enjoy this as much as I hoped . The main characters didn't interest me. To drawn out.Published 21 days ago by Nome St.Ledger