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Prodigal Summer

by

Prodigal Summer Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

After earning international acclaim with The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver returns in Prodigal Summer to her childhood stomping grounds of southern Appalachia, making a stop on the New York Times Bestseller list along the way. This award winning fifth novel is somewhat lighter than her earlier works, though no less meaningful and certainly just as entertaining. Kingsolver deftly embraces new risks, largely in the interaction of setting and plot lines that carry her message. High above the Zebulon Valley, a reclusive Forest Service biologist is forced to consider her own connection with humanity when a young bounty hunter trailing the same coyotes she's observing becomes her unlikely companion. Down the mountain, a young widow faces a choice between protecting her heart (by moving back to the city) or pouring it into the land to which she has become deeply attached. Further down the road, two elderly neighbors squabbling over pesticides and God are drawn together by their ideological differences to share a lesson in interdependence. All three plots unfold as the nature within and around them follows the abundant summer's urging to procreate. Where lesser writers would turn these fertile scenes into a prodigal disaster, Kingsolver weaves instead a beautifully detailed, touching meditation on nature and the connection that all things share within it. Prodigal Summer's carefully crafted ecological treatise is a love story told with Kingsolver's signature keen observations and earthy, poetic wit. Powell's customers named Prodigal Summer among their favorites and it's sure to please others in search of a richly refreshing, heartwarming and thoughtful read. Lilus, Powells.com

Publisher Comments:

Barbara Kingsolver, a writer praised for her"extravagantly gifted narrative voice" (New York Times Book Review), has created with this novel a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself.

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia. At the heart of these intertwined narratives is a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches the forest from her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin where she is caught off-guard by Eddie Bondo, a young hunter who comes to invade her most private spaces and confound her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, another web of lives unfolds as Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself unexpectedly marooned in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land. And a few more miles down the road, a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors tend their respective farms and wrangle about God, pesticides, and the complexities of a world neither of them expected.

Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes a green and profligate countryside, these characters find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place. Their discoveries are embedded inside countless intimate lessons of biology, the realities of small farming, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one part of life on earth.

With the richness that characterizes Barbara Kingsolver's finest work, Prodigal Summer embraces pure thematic originality and demonstrates a balance of narrative and ideas that only an accomplished novelist could render so beautifully.

Review:

"[An] extravagantly gifted narrative voice." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world...and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Prodigal Summer is full of...tenderness, humour and earthy spirituality....Kingsolver's dialogue is absolutely natural, often funny, and sometimes heartbreaking." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"[Kingslover's] sexy, lyrical fifth novel renders our solitary yearnings with a finely trained eye and ear." People

Review:

"A complex web of human and natural struggle and interdependency is analyzed with an invigorating mixture of intelligence and warmth....This deservedly popular writer takes risks that most of her contemporaries wouldn't touch with the proverbial ten-foot pole. Prodigal Summer is another triumphant vindication of her very distinctive art." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In an improbably appealing book with the feeling of a nice stay inside a terrarium, Ms. Kingsolver means to illustrate the nature of biological destiny and provide enlightened discourse on various ecological matters." New York Times

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She received the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work, and in 2010 won Britain's Orange Prize for The Lacuna. Before she made her living as a writer, Kingsolver earned degrees in biology and worked as a scientist. She now lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Linda Barton, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by Linda Barton)
This was the best book I have read in months. You become engossed in each of the characters as their lives play out in this Appalachia community. It begins with Deanna, happy with her solitude in the mountians as a wildlife biologist, only to have it interrupted by Eddy, a hunter who has come to hunt the coyotes. Luca, a well educated city girl who married a local man and became a farmers wife. Garret, an elderly widower. He too living in solitude since his wifes passing,raises a few vegetables and nurses his struggeling chestnut trees. His pesticides are the bane of his neighbor Nanny, who is an organic farmer and as they clash you understand each one's passion. Throughout spring, summer and into fall, each character's life changes, some dramatically, but the story ends showing how each individual persons life is very much intertwinned with the others. Each holds a special place in this impressive story.
Kinsolver writes with precision, rich in descriptions of not only the characters but this beautiful part of the country.
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Matona, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Matona)
This book was just wonderful on many levels. I love how she weaves the different stories together, and how she challenges my beliefs.
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pearl, July 29, 2008 (view all comments by pearl)
As a woman who feels connected to farming and nature, I found this book to be a beautiful ode to humans' complicated participation in the natural world. Kingsolver's writing is surprisingly beautiful and honest...I found myself laughing out loud, re-reading passages in wonder at the author's skill, and yes, crying. This is the best novel I have ever read. It put into words many things I have been trying to understand.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060199654
Author:
Kingsolver, Barbara
Publisher:
Harper
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Farm life
Subject:
Natural history
Subject:
Mountain life
Subject:
Appalachian Region
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Appalachian Region, Southern
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20001017
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9.42x6.51x1.50 in. 1.70 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Prodigal Summer Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Harper - English 9780060199654 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[An] extravagantly gifted narrative voice."
"Review" by , "A blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world...and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature."
"Review" by , "Prodigal Summer is full of...tenderness, humour and earthy spirituality....Kingsolver's dialogue is absolutely natural, often funny, and sometimes heartbreaking."
"Review" by , "[Kingslover's] sexy, lyrical fifth novel renders our solitary yearnings with a finely trained eye and ear."
"Review" by , "A complex web of human and natural struggle and interdependency is analyzed with an invigorating mixture of intelligence and warmth....This deservedly popular writer takes risks that most of her contemporaries wouldn't touch with the proverbial ten-foot pole. Prodigal Summer is another triumphant vindication of her very distinctive art."
"Review" by , "In an improbably appealing book with the feeling of a nice stay inside a terrarium, Ms. Kingsolver means to illustrate the nature of biological destiny and provide enlightened discourse on various ecological matters."
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