Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.
Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.
©2012 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
This book is a compelling story that ties in so beautifully with the human condition and natural world dilemma. Kingsolver bridges the gap of communication between social, political and academic cultures in this country through the eyes of a truly remarkable Kingsolverian character. She paints with words a world so precious and so precarious that I'm torn in two listening to it.
Kingsolver herself narrates this wonder like she's been on stage her entire life. Who but she would know these people so spectacularly well but how often does an author live up to the challenge? This was one of the best books I've ever read.
us about yourself! I'm a retired English teacher and ardent reader(more because of physical disability than from job).
I have already listened to sections repeatedly. Kingsolver's style is lyrical and transfixing (especially her description of butterflys/distant wild fire).
Her plot is involved and meaty, this one with a heavy dose of science. As always, Kingsolver shares a deep comitment to current environmental concerns, while detailing the limitations of the farm life and sharing insights into individuals, especially people with limited opportunities.
The heroine was truly that, a complex, tormented woman you cared about as she struggled to understand herself and her choices.
This is her best yet. It combines her lyrical style and solid science.
It's the perfect title, because the heroine is struggling against temptations to flee and humans are denying scientific reality, so flight behaviors abound.
Kingsolver's lyricism and deft insights make her one of America's finest writers.
Let me start by saying that I am a Kingsolver fan. I'm not bothered by her liberal leanings and tendency to tackle social issues - in fact, it is part of what I love about her writing. Kingsolver is able to articulate some of the most important issues of our day in ways that are multifaceted. Furthermore, she explores them through characters we come to care about, that give the issues relevancy to lives, not just abstract theoretical value.
So, does this book hammer home the need to pay attention to and try to do something to address and ameliorate the effects of climate change? Yes. But it is done in a way that calls up deep societal divides and differences regarding what that means - the cultural territories staked out by various sides - with empathy for the passion and urgencies of each faction.
More importantly, it is a good story with compelling characters that pushes the reader/listener to reflect on her/his own position in the cultural ecology.
I love listening to Kingsolver read her own work. I think her voice is perfect for the main character - although I think the few characters that required unusual accents stretched her skills a bit. It was not enough of a problem to distract me from the story.
Surprisingly fiction, captivating.
Barbara Kingsolver crafts yet another amazing and compelling story which is simultaneously complex and incredibly simple. The most shocking component is her ability to craft a work of fiction within the construct of an environmental and biological reality. The growth and arc of the main character is well worth the ride! As with all of her books, I was sad to have it end.
Funny, but I couldn't keep the title in my head...I kept calling it Flight Risk.
Barbara Kingsolver has a wonderful voice, but can be painful to listen to due to her clearly innunciating each word and very slow reading speed. Her reading style was too staccatoed and too intentional with each word painfully articulated and spoken. Each word was read one at a time rather than in a fluid and flowing natural style. In one respect, I loved her reading her own book because I knew I would hear how each word was intended to be heard. However, I think a voice actor would have been much more capitivating. I found her narration so disturbing to listen to from the get-go that I almost considered not listening to it. The story was AMAZING...it's narration was not. Her voices for the different characters were limited and often even slower than the rest of the story, but her voice of Dr. Ovid Byron was fantastic! It is a story I will think about often.
Struggle is the word that comes to mind. Downer is another. I don't want to be insensitive. There are some very serious issues discussed in this novel. Global warming, farms across USA, unfulfilled lives, dead end marriages, education, small town life, faith, just to name a few. From the start it was so disappointing to listen to the author narrate her own book. Lets just say, maybe someone else could have done a better job. So sorry just my opinion. I will say if the whole point of this book is to preach and bring awareness she did not miss her mark. Don't get me wrong this book is very well written. In many ways it is brilliant. It just left me exhausted and depressed.
I love Kingsolver's books, but I wish she would let an actor read them. She is a fantastic writer, but aside from her memoir, why not let the stories be even more enhanced by a professional reader? Someone who can do male/female, young/old; someone who can transport and allow the listener to get completely transported into the story. I found myself often distracted by this; especially the attempts to do the Caribbean accent. I mean, she is fine, but why not have a great actor read a great book?
Issues of class, culture, the environment.
She isn't a professional reader; I wish she would let others read her books. It is fine to hear at a reading in a bookstore, but her voice just really bugged me. I only finished because I became wrapped up in the story, she is a great writer.
Say something about yourself!
The Butterfly Effect, aka The Chaos Theory; the flapping of a delicate butterfly wing changes the course of a hurricane--Kingsolver amps it up throwing Man into the equation creating a fictional scenario of climate change and global chaos (based on actual recent events) that asks again whether or not we grasp our world and our 'sensitive dependence'.
Kingsolver, her writing as lovely as ever, seems to have settled on her mission to be a bellwether for social justice and perserving our ecology (her books could be stacked and become a worthy pulpit for her to deliver her message). This story is heavy with metaphors as the butterflies go through their life cycle and antagonist Dellarobia experiences her own metamorphosis. Kingsolver's moralizing fits in conveniently as Dellarobia questions not only "the end of the world", but her "911 Christian" status, the class system in her small town, and her own stifling marriage.
I'll always read anything by Kingsolver and I admire her choice to use her art for a cause, but I would selfishly love another Poisonwood Bible--something lighter on the moralizing--along the lines of Requiem for a Species meets Cat's Cradle or The Year of the Flood--then back to tackling politics, biodiversity, social injustice. Flight Behavior wasn't my favorite, it would have been just as interesting with about half the butterfly facts, (and I think I could now midwife a lamb), but it has a message that can't be shouted loud enough, and it was time well spent.
weaving of concern for climate change into story lines of engaging characters.
I will never listen to another "performance" by Barbara Kingsolver. her story was high quality...just wish she'd hire a professional for the performance.
Or at least learn how to pronounce words like hay mow!
I'll admit, I was a bit worried when I started this book. I was afraid that this story would not measure up to Kingsolver's other book, one of my favorites, "The Poisonwood Bible" and I did not, from the get go, like the narration.But somehow, before I knew it, I was mesmerized by the narration AND the story. Kingsolver not only delivers a beautiful and poignant story, but her literary finesse always captivates me! This is NOT a fast-actioned book or even a romance novel, so if you do not like long books that are subtle and slower-paced, this is NOT the book for you. However, if, like me, you enjoy books that get "inside" of you and leave you empty when you 'turn' the last page, then this is the book for you.
Unique, scientific, concerning
I have read many books by Barbara Kingsolver and have thoroughly enjoyed most of them.
I liked the basic story of Flight Behavior, particularly the characters, but I did find it a bit preachy and that, in some sections, the scientific information was heavy-handed. I would have to really look at the next book before I decided to read it or not.
Her intonation and expression helped me understand the characters better. Because she had created these characters, she was able to give them more life and passion when she read the story.
The conversation between Dellarobia and her mother-in-law Hester towards the end of the book, where Hester finally opens up to Dellarobia, was the most moving for me as it gave Hester real humanity and explained why she had always been stand-offish.
I liked the story in general but it was obvious that Kingsolver was on her soap-box about climate change. The ending was not very satisfying as it left the me hanging as to what happened to the Turnbow family and was rather apocalytic.
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