Exuberant, lush, riotous--the summer of the novel is "the season of extravagant procreation" in which bullfrogs carelessly lay their jellied masses of eggs in the grass, "apparently confident that their tadpoles would be able to swim through the lawn like little sperms," and in which a woman may learn to "tell time with her skin." It is also the summer in which a family of coyotes moves into the mountains above Zebulon Valley:
The ghost of a creature long extinct was coming in on silent footprints, returning to the place it had once held in the complex anatomy of this forest like a beating heart returned to its body. This is what she believed she would see, if she watched, at this magical juncture: a restoration.The "she" is Deanna Wolfe, a wildlife biologist observing the coyotes from her isolated aerie--isolated, that is, until the arrival of a young hunter who makes her even more aware of the truth that humans are only an infinitesimal portion in the ecological balance. This truth forms the axis around which the other two narratives revolve: the story of a city girl, entomologist, and new widow and her efforts to find a place for herself; and the story of Garnett Walker and Nannie Rawley, who seem bent on thrashing out the countless intimate lessons of biology as only an irascible traditional farmer and a devotee of organic agriculture can. As Nannie lectures Garnett, "Everything alive is connected to every other by fine, invisible threads. Things you don't see can help you plenty, and things you try to control will often rear back and bite you, and that's the moral of the story."
Structurally, that gossamer web is the story: images, phrases, and events link the narratives, and these echoes are rarely obvious, always serendipitous. Kingsolver is one of those authors for whom the terrifying elegance of nature is both aesthetic wonder and source of a fierce and abiding moral vision. She may have inherited Thoreau's mantle, but she piles up riches of her own making, blending her extravagant narrative gift with benevolent concise humor. She treads the line between the sentimental and the glorious like nobody else in American literature. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A wonderful novel!!! I picked it up on a whim and loved every second. I will definately check out her other works.Published on July 8 2008 by C. Peterson
What an enriching book this is, informed by a compassion for all that lives. Her writing is poetic and nuanced, like the subtle connections that give meaning to all life on planet... Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Jay
I've read most of Kingsolver's books, and I do really, really enjoy them. I absolutely disagree with one of the reviews here that there are no other contemporary writers like her. Read morePublished on June 24 2004
A Prodigal Summer written By Barbara Kingsolver is a very well written book. The language used in the book is so descriptive it is poetic. Read morePublished on May 28 2004
I like all of Barbara Kingsolver's books with THE POISONWOOD BIBLE being my favorite. This book was, in my opinion, entirely different. Read morePublished on May 21 2004
i thought it was supposed to be three love stories but there are only two. the old man didn't like that one woman (although my boyfriend said that was a form of love) and the other... Read morePublished on May 17 2004 by corinne schinzler
this is the worst book Kingsolver has written. It's shallow. I wonder why it was ever written.... contract?Published on May 16 2004 by snowblaze
Just days after recovering from the miscarriage of my first baby, I started reading this novel. My plans had been to save it as one of my "must reads" for this coming... Read morePublished on April 16 2004 by HappyHeart