I loved the Bean Trees, Prodigal Summer, and the Poisonwood Bible, so I was excited to see a new Barbara Kingsolver novel come out. Sadly, Flight Behavior was slow, boring, and preachy... even a little depressing. Added to that, the narration was simply awful and hard to listen to.
Barbra Kingsolver's portrayal of a Virgin Islander's accent was at first laughable, and then downright annoying.
It was a real treat listening to Barbara Kingsolver read her own book. She has a beautiful voice, and I felt the reading was genuine -- not an outside interpretation. The Appalachian setting and attitudes of the people are believable in my experience, having lived there for a few years. I loved the heroine, Dellarobia -- Kingsolver's best so far. Imagery and symbolism, as they relate to nature and global warming, are powerful and moving.
As the story goes on, voices get lost (Dr. Byron suddenly disappears) and the plot becomes mired in rhetoric. This may sound serious, but there is so much momentum at this point that I never considered putting the book down.
If you've ever admired a butterfly -- or a sheep -- you will love this book as I did.
The story was very compelling. While listening to the book I had to keep reminding myself that this book is a novel.
Dellarobia is a complex character. She evolved into a champion for the natural world around her.
There were many moments, and the book continues to haunt me. Barbara Kingsolver has written a powerful story that illustrates the diverse challenges that we face as climate change intensifies.
This book obviously required extensive research. Barbara 's fiction highlights a topic that is intentionally obfuscated by those with political and economic agendas. I believe that climate change has to be addressed by bold measures....and soon! Thank you Barbara for using your incredible writing talents to move the conversation along,
This novel is s.l.o.w... Wow, I kept thinking something exciting was going to happen--it never did.
FB has no real characters to fall in love with.
This is a novel to skip--even if you love butterflies.
I love Ms. Kingsolver's writing and have read most of her books, but I will never listen to the audio version of another one that she reads. This book, although not one of my favorites of hers, was a good story, and in the typical Kingsolver fashion, manages to educate about an important topic while keeping us entertained using wonderful prose and interesting characters. There was a lot of scientific detail about Monarch butterflies that some might find tedious, but I enjoyed. Apparently I'm as big a nerd as she is.
However, she's not an actor and does not do her work justice by performing the reading herself. Her voice doesn't have the full, round tones we've come to expect in an audio book. I have seen her in person, when she read a few pages of a book and that was great, but she doesn't have the talent or training to pull off an entire novel.
Her reading of the dialog was actually okay: not great, but a good amateur performance. I'm no linguist so I can't say whether her accents were accurate, but they were good enough for my untrained ear. Certainly better than I would have done in my head had I read the book. It was the narrative portions of the book that drove me to distraction. It was plodding and cumbersome, and I was constantly aware of her trying to enunciate each word carefully. The intonations were exaggerated and it felt like I was being read to by a kindergarten teacher who couldn't break out of her usual role.
Please, Ms Kingsolver, keep to what you were born to do: write. After all, would any of us have benefited if Arthur Miller insisted he had to play Willie Loman?
Someone who does not think about a character's ringing true--someone who may like stories about women who feel a bit sorry for themselves while at the same time believing they have all or none of the answers to Life.
Let someone else read her work. A reader she is not. Make her characters ring true. Don't use the plight of the butterflies as a cover for a Bridges of Madison County type book.
Slow, lack of variation in reading, almost as if she didn't understand the book. Actually this might be true. She is not a reader.
For me, none.
Don't waste your time or money. She has written good books, but this one is a disaster.
I found this book to be laborious and dull. Not at all like "Poisonwood". Some things just seemed to be amateurish (the mother-in-law especially) in character development and the relationship with the lead. I really struggled to read the whole thing. I didn't care what happened. And I am an ecologically supportive kind of person with a certified Monarch Habitat. It should have interested me. But no.
Add some energy, some real tension. The tension was weak.
Dull. Hire a trained professional. Sorry to be mean - but it may have been better if performed better.
Mother-in-law. Weird dead newborn with 'fur'. That was silly.
The narration is perfect for the story, but the environmental message behind the plot is a little heavy handed. If you already know a lot about ecology, the revelations of the main character aren't as awe inspiring as the author would like them to be. If you are looking for your first Kingsolver book, listen to The Poisonwood Bible. It is riveting!
I am a fan, I'll admit it. Barbara Kingsolver never fails to satisfy. She writes elegant and insightful prose. I always learn something from her books--this time it is global warming, climate change, and monarch butterflies. And, she creates characters who become real people that I care about deeply. Kingsolver is a decent narrator.
Why she chose to narrate her own book, I cannot begin to understand...
As a reader I found it distracting and annoying to be read to as though I were under the age of five or mentally challenged. The story itself is lovely and very interesting as it addresses the extinction of, not only the monarch butterfly, but our very ecosystem as we know it. The characters are well developed - I already picture Jessica Chastain cast in in the role of Dellarobia for the big screen - and Dr. Byron, her intellectual crush, who is described as a gorgeous African American scientist. However, the muddied accent audibly bestowed upon him by the author makes him sound like a depressed Jamaican crossed with Arnold Schwarzenegger; I cringed each time "he" spoke.
Unfortunately, Ms. Kingsolver joins the ranks of Anne Lamott and Colm Tolbin in a group of authors who should never read aloud. In my brief history with audible performances the only author who successfully narrates his own story is the beguiling Michael Ondaatje whose melodious reading of THE CAT'S TABLE is one of the best performances I've had the pleasure of listening to.
Do yourself a favor and buy a hard copy or an e-book version of FLIGHT BEHAVIOR for best results.