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Prodigal Summer | [Barbara Kingsolver]

Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives in 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 them from 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 her solitary life.
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Publisher's Summary

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives in 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 them from 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 her solitary life.

Down the mountain, another web of lives unfolds as Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land that has become her own. 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 possibilities the future holds.

Over the course of one long summer, these characters find connections to one another, and to the land, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one piece of life on earth.

©2000 Barbara Kingsolver; (P)2000 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Readers will be seduced by [Kingsolver's] effortless prose." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1016 )
5 star
 (532)
4 star
 (313)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.3 (562 )
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3 star
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1 star
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4.4 (555 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marjorie Santa Rosa, CA, United States 11-27-12
    Marjorie Santa Rosa, CA, United States 11-27-12 Member Since 2015

    Life's good when I am listening to a great book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing"

    Unfortuntely, Barbara Kingsolver did a better job of educating readers about the dangers of allowing species to become extinct than to create a work of fiction. The characters all sounded the same, the book moved along slowly, the characters were poorly developed, and, though the descriptions of nature were often beautiful, the storyline just did not keep the reader interested. I am a nature lover and still could not enjoy this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmen Spring Hill, TN, United States 11-12-12
    Carmen Spring Hill, TN, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    87
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    Story
    "Did not want this story to end!"
    What made the experience of listening to Prodigal Summer the most enjoyable?

    Listening to authors read is usually not as satisfying as listening to a trained reader, but Barbara's voice and natural regional accents were perfect.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The strong female characters and accurate up-to-date scientific information about predators and ecology presented in an entertaining way.


    What about Barbara Kingsolver’s performance did you like?

    I loved the leisurely way she read, and her use of authentic regional accents.


    If you could rename Prodigal Summer, what would you call it?

    Coyotes Are Not the Devil!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Temecula, CA, United States 09-14-12
    Lynn Temecula, CA, United States 09-14-12 Member Since 2010

    I listen to books on tape typically about 10 or more hours a week during my commute time. A good book makes you kind of forget your driving!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing. Amazing read by author !"
    If you could sum up Prodigal Summer in three words, what would they be?

    When I first saw it was read by author I worried bu she was perfect!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Moorestown, NJ, United States 08-13-12
    Amazon Customer Moorestown, NJ, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "wordy"
    What did you love best about Prodigal Summer?

    The banter between the two elderly neighbors


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Over too soon. build up slow ending too quick.


    Have you listened to any of Barbara Kingsolver’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    n/a


    Who was the most memorable character of Prodigal Summer and why?

    nanny rawling-


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Western Cape, South Africa 08-11-12
    Amazon Customer Western Cape, South Africa 08-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Succulent, fecund, life!"

    Although I've read this book through several times, listening to it was a novel (sorry) experience. Each word entered my mind more clearly, each word chosen with care, and built the sensory drama of life all around me.

    I enjoyed the author's reading of her own work very much. I remembered having read her essay "taming the two-humped beast,' if I remember right, about writing this book. She generated for me a lavish sense of summer and of the inter-connectedness of all life; deeply refreshing from my arid plot in the now cold, grey Karoo winter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Esher Chico, CA, United States 08-06-12
    Esher Chico, CA, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2014
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    57
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    "One of my favorite books, and author."

    This is such a good story, intersecting four main characters, their personal struggles and their need for each other. It is about personal relationships, love, maturity, growth, change, coyotes, and so much more. I loved all the characters and was lonesome for them when the book ended. The story is in many ways simple but at the same time complex. It is about personal growth and changes in each of the characters, how differences in us make us unique and can bring us together. I also liked the author's narration. She has a slow pace which fits the story well. And, I always love Barbara Kingsolvers books, She has a great gift for story and words that bring the story and characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Franklin 04-16-12

    lab lover

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    5
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    "Unforgettable"
    What made the experience of listening to Prodigal Summer the most enjoyable?

    Barbara Kingsolver's voice


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the three stories blended together


    What about Barbara Kingsolver’s performance did you like?

    Her intimacy with the story. She mad each character come alive in a way the written story could not.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I have read and listened to the book a dozen times and I laugh and cry each and every time.


    Any additional comments?

    My all time favorite author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    beth LEAGUE CITY, TX, United States 04-03-12
    beth LEAGUE CITY, TX, United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2011

    I am easily amused!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of my Faves!"

    I read this book every Spring. It never gets old. The book has three separate stories that intertwine. There are a pair of characters in each segment that are fun and unique and really well developed. I always get sad when the story shifts to the next set of characters but then I am swept into their drama immediatly. There is all sorts of wonderful themes that were nature based like entomology, organic farming, the cycle of the seasons, and indigenous wildlife. This book is a real treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dientes SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States 03-26-12
    Dientes SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States 03-26-12
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    "Good characters, interesting, but not her best"

    Very strong narration and it was worth the listen. Kingsolver is an incredible author, though this is my least favorite of her books I've read. (poisonwood bible, bean trees, pigs in heaven!!) The plot was a little slow at times and it has nowhere near the complexity and stunning beauty of some of her others. Still very well written though. The characters had depth and were really the most interesting element, and I liked gradually discovering how they were interconnected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaylyn Eagle Mountain, UT, United States 03-06-12
    Kaylyn Eagle Mountain, UT, United States 03-06-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Horrible Ending"
    What disappointed you about Prodigal Summer?

    The ending was horrible!! It just ended suddenly. I double checked to see if I missed downloading the end of the book because I couldn't believe she really ended it with so many loose ends just sitting there unfinished. But no, I did download the whole book and was mad that I was wasted my money. I loved Poisonwood Bible, but this one is not nearly as good. I am not anti-environmental, but this book is a bit too tree-huggerish for me. If you want a lesson on organic farming, moth mating, and the predator/prey relationship in the wild, than this is the book for you.


    What could Barbara Kingsolver have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Finished the story


    What aspect of Barbara Kingsolver’s performance would you have changed?

    Some people said they didn't like her voice, but I thought it was fine. I didn't mind listening to it.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I liked the interpersonal relationships between the characters but, then again, they were left hanging.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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