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Animal Dreams Paperback – June 21, 1991

4.3 out of 5 stars 417 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Codi Noline returns to the sleepy mining town of Grace, Arizona, to care for her father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It is a bad time for her: disappointed in her personal life, she has closed down her emotions in defense against a heart that cares too easily. "I had quietly begun to hope for nothing at all in the way of love, so as not to be disappointed," she muses. In Grace, she finds friends, allies, and a love that endures. This strong second novel confirms the promise shown in The Bean Trees (LJ 2/1/88), a deserved critical and commercial success. Kingsolver's characters are winners, especially the women, who take charge of life without fuss or complaint. Her novel compares to those of Ann Tyler in its engaging people and message that is upbeat but realistic. Kingsolver's dedication to complex social and environmental causes enriches the story line. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/90.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Kingsolver is a writer of rare ambition and unequivocal talent . . . Animal Dreams is a complex, passionate, bravely challenging book." -- -- Chicago Tribune
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 21, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060921145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060921149
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book in 1991 when the cover art caught my eye. I had finished it by the afternoon, and by the evening, I was back at it with a pencil. The magical way that Kingsolver weaves language had me marking passages in the text and furiously copying quotes into the margins of my dayplanner. I was a college sophomore at the time, and Codi's sometimes brilliant, often hapless search to find her place in the world was familiar and affirming. I quickly bought Animal Dreams for six or seven women friends and family and each of them, whether they read it that day, or years later, raced to their phones or desks when they finished to thank me for selecting a novel that spoke so personally to them. Twenty-something women seem to especially identify with Codi's journey. While her story, and those of Loyd, Hallie, Doc Homer and the others will stay with you, the novel's impact really comes from it's powerful prose. You'll reread the same passages over and over, savoring the remarkable way Kingsolver constructs the simplest sentance. This book still feels like my personal anthem to that time in my life; thanks to Barbara Kingsolver for giving me such enjoyment and insight. If you like this book, be sure to get a copy of High Tide in Tucson, her essay collection. Don't let the "essay" part deter you. I have copied and circulated the title piece to women friends and family ages 16 to 89 and always it always elicits the same marvelled response. It's breathtaking.
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Format: Paperback
Animal Dreams is a rich tapestry woven of many threads: mystery, love, politics, environment, benelovance, history, culture, and the finding of oneself. When Codi Noline returns to her hometown of Grace, Arizona, she must confront all these things while taking care of an ailing father, worrying about her sister in the fields of Nicaragua, and dealing with the deterioration of the town's river. She is conflicted with who she is and where she is going; she repeatedly reminds her new lover she is not going to stay yet has no idea why. While Codi searches for something to look for, she unearths a town with many secrets and many stories. Like Codi, the reader learns about the powers of culture and history; of politics and environmentalism; and of family and love. Kingsolver's ability to catch colors, emotions, and life makes for a very engaging, beautifully-written book.
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Format: Paperback
This is Kingsolver's second novel and its as good as Bean Trees. Also set in the southwest (this time Grace, Arizona), Animal Dreams revolves around Codi Noline who returns to her hometown to care for her father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. She is content with being alone because throughout her life she has consistently felt let down- first by the lack of attention by her father, by her failure to become a doctor, and lastly her pathetic personal life. Returning home though brings back her past which she has blocked many memories of, and the resurgence of an ex lover who wants to make amends by loving her right. While at home, Codi faces a lot of unanswered questions including the death of her mother, the disappearance of her sister, and the reasons behind her father's disguising (or simply ignoring the truths). Her father, a once non-emotional, inflexible family doctor must also try and remain the composure he has always held, yet his thoughts and mind race and spill out opening secrets that Codi has always wanted to find out.
What makes this book exceptional is that Kingsolver writes honestly, and doesnt have flowery descriptions or paints her characters as immoral or saintly. They are vulnerable, likeable, and faulty. She builds her characters to become stronger, and considers miscommunication a cancer which if not taken care of will spread and cause trouble for years. Kingsolver also has a way of writing about the southwest that makes it come alive. Codi's heritage is American Indian as well as her lover's, and we learn more about their teachings, practices, traditions, and spiritual beliefs. Kingsolver paints a good description of the importance the American Indian way of life.
If this book appeals to you, then Bean Trees may also be a good choice for your second novel. Kingsolver will not disappoint you, she is an excellent and realistic writer.
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Format: Paperback
"Animals dream about the things they do in the daytime, just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life." So says Loyd Peregrina, a handsome Apache in "Animal Dreams". But when Codi Noline returns to her hometown, Loyd's advice is painfully out of her reach. Dreamless and at the end of her rope, Codi comes back to Grace, Arizona to confront her past and face her ailing, distant father. What she finds is a town threatened by a silent environmental catastrophe, some startling clues to her own identity, and a man whose view of the world could change the course of her life.
"Animal Dreams," by Barbara Kingsolver, is a dense and vivid novel, which grasps the enduring question of 'what it means to be alive'. "Animal Dreams" captures the beauty of life. Kingsolver use of flashback allows readers to relate their life experiences to those of the characters and in return learn some more about themselves. When Codi finally learns that the flashback she had about her mother's death was real it helped her to better understand her fathers devotion to her and their relationship. Readers realize that things are not always as they seem the first time around, and that when people are cold and distant they may only be showing they care. Because Kingsolver's characters are very realistic the story comes to life and makes it easier for the readers to relate. The descriptions and details in the book make "Animal Dreams" very authentic. Animal Dreams is an inspirational, sweet, and enduring book. If you enjoy books with a deep meaning, grasping you by the soul, this is for you!
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