earning international acclaim with The
Poisonwood Bible, Barbara
returns in Prodigal Summer
to her childhood stomping grounds
of southern Appalachia, making a stop on the New York Times
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
crafted ecological treatise is a love story told with Kingsolver's signature
keen observations and earthy, poetic wit. Powell's customers named Prodigal
among their favorites
and it's sure to please others in search of a richly refreshing, heartwarming
and thoughtful read. Lilus, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia. From her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin, Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. She is caught off-guard by a young hunter who invades her most private spaces and confounds her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, 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 that has become her own. 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 possibilities of a future neither of them expected.
Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes the countryside, these characters find their connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they share a place. With the complexity that characterizes Barbara Kingsolver's finest work, Prodigal Summer embraces pure thematic originality and demonstrates a balance of narrative, drama, and ideas that render it an inspiring work of fiction.
In this collection of three stories of human love, which take place in the mountains of Appalachia, a reclusive wildlife biologist, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, and a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors all discover their connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they share a place. Unabridged.
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.