Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver

March 6, 2010 at 16:54 | Posted in books | 1 Comment
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This strangely compelling book charts the courses of several lives over one summer in a small corner of the Appalachians. Deanna, a wildlife ranger living a remote existence in the mountains, Lusa, heir to a family farm when she is widowed, and the love-hate relationship between two elderly farming neighbours form the human narratives, which are woven together over the course of the book.

Kingsolver richly captures the essence of the place with vivid descriptions of the various natural environments as well as the tension that exists between nature and the farming community. It rejoices in the fecundity of nature; of renewal and growth, a theme that is reflected in the human characters as they come to terms with their lives and find develop in different ways – although the book is as much about the place, as it is the people.

It is a love story and a nature book; a treatise on ecology and a farming manual. The stories themselves gradually weave together over the course of the book in a satisfying way.

Despite the far-fetched nature of some of the story, and the slightly preachy tone that comes through when Kingsolver pushes home her ecological and environmental messages, the beauty of the writing for the most part masks these flaws, making the book a delight to read.

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