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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.
AVAST! There be SPOILERS ahead. Read on at your own peril.
I can't believe this is the... Read more
Prodigal Summer has 3 plot lines that merge at the end. The character development and underlying themes are artfully developed and skillfully dovetailed into her themes. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Joni Bruecken
I am a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver, I have loved all the books of hers that I have read, except this one, it was disappointing. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Barbara J. Benson
I just loved this book and was annoyed when it finished because I wanted to know what happened to all of the characters, how their lives continued and changed - just couldn't put... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Raylea Rudov
One of Kingsolver’s best, this wonderful novel includes very human people in ordinary human situations, combined with a lot of interesting information about our environment and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Shelley Isom
I really enjoyed the book and was sorry to have finished it so quickly. The constant reference to sex did get a bit tiresome, but I guess this book was about the hot, humid season... Read morePublished 2 months ago by A Reader
This is my first BK book and I was not impressed. Some of the writing was good, vivid, and so I gave it 2 stars instead of one. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Zeriah Quest