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Prodigal Summerby Barbara Kingsolver
Synopses & Reviews
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
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.
About the Author
Barbara Kingsolver is the author of seven works of fiction, including the novels The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction such as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In 2000, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.
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