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Exuberant, lush, riotous--the summer of the novel is "the season of extravagant procreation" in which bullfrogs carelessly lay their jellied masses of eggs in the grass, "apparently confident that their tadpoles would be able to swim through the lawn like little sperms," and in which a woman may learn to "tell time with her skin." It is also the summer in which a family of coyotes moves into the mountains above Zebulon Valley:
The ghost of a creature long extinct was coming in on silent footprints, returning to the place it had once held in the complex anatomy of this forest like a beating heart returned to its body. This is what she believed she would see, if she watched, at this magical juncture: a restoration.The "she" is Deanna Wolfe, a wildlife biologist observing the coyotes from her isolated aerie--isolated, that is, until the arrival of a young hunter who makes her even more aware of the truth that humans are only an infinitesimal portion in the ecological balance. This truth forms the axis around which the other two narratives revolve: the story of a city girl, entomologist, and new widow and her efforts to find a place for herself; and the story of Garnett Walker and Nannie Rawley, who seem bent on thrashing out the countless intimate lessons of biology as only an irascible traditional farmer and a devotee of organic agriculture can. As Nannie lectures Garnett, "Everything alive is connected to every other by fine, invisible threads. Things you don't see can help you plenty, and things you try to control will often rear back and bite you, and that's the moral of the story."
Structurally, that gossamer web is the story: images, phrases, and events link the narratives, and these echoes are rarely obvious, always serendipitous. Kingsolver is one of those authors for whom the terrifying elegance of nature is both aesthetic wonder and source of a fierce and abiding moral vision. She may have inherited Thoreau's mantle, but she piles up riches of her own making, blending her extravagant narrative gift with benevolent concise humor. She treads the line between the sentimental and the glorious like nobody else in American literature. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Just as subtly, the connections between the underlying characters and their particular love of nature is explored.
I really appreciated the strong female characters in the book and the way several stories are weaved and come together in the end.
In Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver combines her love of nature with her beautiful writing to produce this stunning novel.
I didn't know B.K. had it in her but this was one of her steamier books. What can I say, I'm her biggest fan.Published 2 days ago by Judy Osman
Along with its many characters, one is drawn into the world of life in the wilderness and the conflicting viewpoints of humans in dealing with the wildlife. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Gail Sonbuchner
This book bring three stories into a beautiful harmony in the end. If you look for it, you can see these connection beginning to form in the stories as they progress. Read morePublished 25 days ago by F. Blain
Reading this book is such a pleasure. The characters aren't the point -- the message is. Read, learn, and enjoy.Published 29 days ago by Reader
I have only recently discovered Barbara Kingsolver with Fight Behavior, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- her writing truly speaks to me as a fellow Southerner and one who is very... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ladybug
Will try to read all of her books.... her fascination with and knowledge about the natural world is compelling and makes a great book that much more worthwhile.Published 1 month ago by Merida
She wove several lives together, but I was disappointed in the ending which I felt left questions open about all of them.Published 1 month ago by Irishdcm
I could not put this book down . Her prose keeps me enthralled. Her writing is sensual,sensitive and entirely absorbing.Published 1 month ago by Judith B. Kenessey
3 stories that are entwined but separate, illustrating common ideas from different view points and logic. Makes me want to get outside in the world.Published 2 months ago by Kalea