On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature. As the world around her is suddenly transformed by a seeming miracle, can the old certainties people have lived by for centuries remain unchallenged? Flight Behaviour is a captivating, topical and deeply human story touching on class, poverty, and climate change. It is Barbara Kingsolver's most accessible novel yet, and explores the truths we live by, and the complexities that lie behind them.
©2012 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
Say something about yourself!
Barbara Kingsolver is a master storyteller and has written a fine story of one woman's growth and search to find a way out of her stifled life in a small town. As always with her novels there are many layers and you learn something new. Barbara is also an excellent narrator, I always enjoy her voice and characters. Well worth a listen.
As with The Poisonwood Bible, you have to know to expect a certain amount of activism from this author. I was unaware with the first novel, but now that I know, although the dosage was so much higher here, I've been able to quite enjoy it.
Basically it slips pretty quickly into an anti-global-warming manifesto against the backdrop of a small-town marriage. I recognize the various cliches casually dropped now and again along the storyline, yet this is a warm, well-written book that I've quite enjoyed reading.
p.s. Kingsolver is not bad as a reader, either. She seemed way too dreamy for the first part, but then I either got used to it, or grew to think it suited the book - not sure which. That being said, though, I don't think it's a very good idea for authors to read.
"Good book, mixed feelings about narration"
The story itself is good and I've enjoyed Kingsolver's style here, especially when describing everyday experiences or objects in unusual ways. The more extraordinary butterflies and the scientist's work around them is also interesting. I've also enjoyed the dialogue between most of the characters, and the protagonist and her children are particularly likeable.
My main criticism is of the prolonged conversations that begin midway through, where a range of arguments surrounding human's interaction with the environment are expounded through some of the characters. These conversations begin to get somewhat repetitive, and unfortunately their slightly grating nature is exacerbated by the fact that one of the chief characters was born in St. Thomas, an island in the Caribbean. Kingsolver narrates this audiobook, and I have to say I generally love her voice and speaking style, especially for the main character. Unfortunately, as the book progresses, the St. Thomas character has a lot of dialogue, and Kingsolver's Caribbean accent here is lacking, which at first was comical but then made the otherwise interesting character less believable.
It's a shame since after a while, I began not to follow the conversations involving this character due to the accent and the repetition of particular ideas, which are at the centre of the book, and also a shame since otherwise I really like Kingsolver's vocal style.
So although I love audiobooks generally, I probably would have been better off reading this one from the page.
"A novel for our time."
A great American writer with a sure and nuanced sense of our predicament. As climate catastrophe threatens, a harassed mother cuts through corporate mis-information and comes to a sense of her own value and purpose. Superbly crafted, and painfully timely. A masterpiece beautifully performed.
A bored housewife is on the verge of an affair when she discovers hoardes of butterflies resting in the woods behind her house. The butterflies take on a religious quality with people believing they are signifying the rapture. From a geeky point, I enjoyed the scientific detail described in the plot; but that in no way takes away from the story. As the scientists and fanatics swarm around the town, the wife sees similarities between her life and the fragile ecosystem around her.
"Not for me!"
a Barabara Kingsolver fan?
For me, the story line and the narration were very pedestrian - almost as if she was reading it out to a class. I was very disappointed. Some of the story line details and dialogue were so puerile.
I could not get beyond chapter 5!
Maybe I had high expectations, (especially as it was narrated by the author) which accounted for my huge disappointment, and then finally abandoning the audiobook!
Thank you for your return policy!
"Terrible Narration - Had to Give Up"
Well, I tried a few hours of this, but, like various other reviewers, I found the narration terrible. Please use a professional actor next time. I have enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's previous books in print, but this was so tedious. It's read by the author and unfortunately she reads it out painfully slowly with no variation in tone or pace, enunciating every individual syllable and is not very good at accents. The story itself (I never finished it) started off promisingly, then got totally bogged down in the middle. Coupled with the interminable narration, I lost the will to live and gave up. She also bashes you over the head with climate change exposition - I know a lot of people refuse to believe in it, but it was clumsily handled, as if explaining to five-year-olds. Anyway, overall a very disappointing audiobook - I'll stick to the print version of her next one.
"Beautiful and thought provoking"
This book is narrated by the author which gives it authenticity as she is clearly writing from experience and good research about a world she knows well.
I found the characters realistic in their flaws and aspirations and in the inter personal relationships, finding myself drawn to characters who in real life I would not have much in common with.
The author's research into butterfly behaviour and the impact of climate change on our ecosystems was detailed and fascinating. It made me want to go and find out more about butterflies even though I have always had a bit of a phobia about wings!
The author has the reader sharing the ups and downs of the characters lives and the rare quality of experiencing their emotions even though we may not want to-very poignant at times but most important, there is a message for us all.
"Butterflies and humans in synchrony - metaphors!"
The narrator (and author) adds real feeling to the place and the time by her accent and use of emphasis. You get so much less of this in the print version.
It reminds me of another dystopic novel "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Attwood, where commonplace events are distorted and read as normal by the characters. This is much closer to a scientific look at what modern greed could do on a large scale, and the effect it has on people and their relationships.
"Flight Behaviour" refers to the flight of the butterflies, away from destruction (as yet unknown) and the realisation of one character, that she is moving away from what she knows (belatedly) is an escape or remaining in prison.
Preston's reaction to encyclopedias in the shop, and his mother's realisation that this is where his future is. The way she read and explained the books with him gives you a glimpse of where she might have resided intellectually and who she might have been had she continued her education.
The softening of the relationships between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law when the personal histories were grudgingly shared, leading to greater understanding.
How unusual to get soundly based science in a fiction book. And how delicately the relationships were developed. And even more unusual to have these two strands in the same book!
"Who could resist someone called Ovid Byron!"
Barbara Kingsolver reads her own book and her voice can be a little difficult at first. But in the end it works, and she is surprisingly good at other character accents. She is a gifted storyteller and this story mixes the personal with the global, the possible with reality in a fascinating and balanced way. It covers love, deception, disappointment, expectation, exploitation, and some really good arguments about our world today. That sounds a bit pretentious, but the book is anything but. I usually listen when I'm walking the dog. The poor dog got walked off his feet this time!
"Fascinating book, well written and conceived"
This compelling book had me looking forward to listening to it on my way to work. The book deals with the issues and politics around climate change on a personal level. Particularly interesting were how levels of income and education made a big difference to how the issues were dealt with in the book. This was insightful and eye opening. The narration was perfect as well, fitting nicely with the tone and pace of the book.
This book was more than i expected. Insight into a part of the country and lifestyle that would be difficult to understand or relate to unless you grew up there or read this book by Kingsolver.
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