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.: ...Continua
not a subject I thought I'd be interested in (wolves, pesticides) but B Kingsolver can make any subject magic...
I really have mixed feelings about this book. Taken individually I really enjoyed the stories of Deanna, Lusa, and Nannie Rawley. I also enjoyed how the three individual threads eventually wove into an inter-related tapestry at the end. However throughout the narrative I kept getting the feeling that this book was being used by the author as simply an ecological soapbox. All three women characters, at some point in their stories, fully used their opportunity to expound at length on the evils of pesticides, killing predators, and other questionable modern-day farming/ranching techniques. While I do agree with the message, I would have preferred to have that message derived from flow of the story instead of having it forced on the reader in a series of repetitive monologues. This also tended to give all three women characters a common voice which ultimately had the effect of blurring the uniqueness of each individual character and making them largely interchangeable....Continua