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Flight Behaviour [Hardcover]

Barbara Kingsolver
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
RRP: £18.99
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Book Description

1 Nov 2012

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 they 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.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (1 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571290779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571290772
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 14.4 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in eastern Kentucky. Her books include poetry, non-fiction and award-winning fiction, and in 1999 she was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for The Poisonwood Bible (recently voted Britain's favourite reading group book). She lives with her husband and daughter in southern Arizona and in the mountains of southern Appalachia.

Product Description


'Kingsolver's masterly evocation of an age - ours, here, now - stumbling willfully blind towards the abyss is an elegy ... for the ambitious, flawed species that conjured the mass extinction of which its loss is a part. Urgent issues demand important art. Flight Behaviour rises - with conscience and majesty - to the occasion of its time.' --Guardian

'A compelling plot with lyrical passages and flashes of humour. Absorbing and entertaining, Flight Behaviour engages the reader in the quotidian details of Dellarobia s life, while insisting that we never forget the crumbling world beneath her, and our, feet.' --Sunday Telegraph

'This is what Kingsolver does best, taking us deep into a character's heart while panning out for the political overview. She makes us think, believe and care - all at once ... And her prose is vivid and beautiful ... Kingsolver fans will love it.' --Sunday Times

'Kingsolver has an extraordinary understanding of family dynamics; her theme is climate change of every kind, and her prose is dense, lush and lovely.' --The Times

'Her descriptions of the everyday shearing day, immunising the sheep are surprisingly fascinating. There are many moments of lightness ... and of great beauty, too'. --Independent

'There are some beautifully written set pieces..... The last section has an almost epic quality as Dellarobia, ... alone on the mountain, moves outside herself and watches in a state of mind akin to ecstasy the apocalyptic fate of the family farm below. It reminds us that humanity seeks destruction as much as we seek stability and happiness.' --Irish Times

'All sorts of crazy wanting, both prosaic and earth-shattering, are shot through the intricate tapestry of Barbara Kingsolver's majestic and brave new novel, Flight Behavior. Her subject is both intimate and enormous ... How do we live, Kingsolver asks, and with what consequences, as we hurtle toward the abyss in these times of epic planetary transformation? And make no mistake about it, the stakes are that high.' --New York Times Book Review

'Flight Behaviour is an impressive work. It is complex, elliptical and well-observed.' --Observer

'Flight Behaviour [is] Barbara Kingsolver's 14th book [and] may be her most accessible novel yet.' --Express

'This is a poignant novel, funny and ­poetic, whose message about climate change is timely and true, and cannot be ignored.' --Scotsman

Book Description

From the Orange Prize-winning author of The Lacuna comes a suspenseful and brilliant new novel about catastrophe and denial.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Butterfly Effect 25 Nov 2012
Barbara Kingsolver writes beautiful measured novels and Flight Behaviour is no exception.  Though slow out of the blocks, Kingsolver gradually binds its threads  together to form an utterly compelling whole.  

Dellarobia Turnbow steps out from her back door intent on wrecking her marriage. For ten years she has lived a humdrum existence on her husband's family farm.  She is heading for a secret tryst with a young telephone engineer, but in small town Tennessee can anything be kept secret?  On her way she is stopped in her tracks by a natural wonder, a valley of fire.  She returns to her home, glad of the wake up call, and her narrow escape from infidelity. 

The Turnbow farm is struggling to survive.  The recession has hit hard, wiping out the farm's meager profits.  When her father-in-law decides he is going to allow a logging company to decimate his land's trees Dellarobia feels obliged to speak out.  She exhorts her husband, Cub, to take look over the land.  When he does he discovers the same unnatural wonder as his wife.  Convinced that Dellarobia has had a vision, Cub blurts out in church what they have seen.  A wondrous sight on private land suddenly becomes public property.

Flight Behaviour is about so many things it's hard to know where to start.  At its heart is the interaction between three distinct groups of people.  The media, who want to present the phenomenon in a way that will generate as many ratings as possible, the scientists, who want to present only the facts, and the farmers, who must do what's needed to preserve their livelihoods.   Dellarobia sits in two camps.  She is a farmer's wife, reliant on the farm turning a profit, but she yearns for more.
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140 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kingsolver's best yet 1 Nov 2012
By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER
Flight Behaviour is the 5th stand-alone novel by Barbara Kingsolver. In the Appalachian Mountains above her home, eastern Tennessee farm wife and mother of two, Dellarobia Turnbow is about to take a step that will change her unsatisfactory life forever when she is arrested by a vision of something she has never before encountered. What seems like a miracle is, however, threatened by her father-in-law's decision to allow the mountain to be clear-felled by a logging company. Those who start reading and think this is the formulaic righteous woman plus scientist battling against hick farmers and loggers to save endangered species will need to think again! Of all the things I predicted about this novel at the beginning, the only one I got right was that it is very, very good. I was assured of that in just the first few pages by prose like "How they admired their own steadfast lives. Right up to the day when hope in all its versions went out of stock, including the crummy discount brands, and the heart had just one instruction left: run." and "Whoever was in charge of the weather had put a recall on blue and nailed up this mess of dirty-white sky like a lousy sheet-rock job." I also loved "His moustache made two curved lines around the sides of his mouth like parentheses, as if everything he might say would be very quiet, and incidental." This novel has a plot that didn't go where I expected; the characters, too, surprised me when I thought I had their measure. Kingsolver skilfully conveys the desperation of poverty in everyday life and its effect on education, life choices and what people come to believe. She also highlights the importance of the manner in which scientists convey their message to the general public. Read more ›
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Requiring Perseverance. 24 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read every novel and all the anthologies of shorter work by Barbara Kingsolver but I couldn't get into this one.
There are the usual patches of vivid description and good insight into character and motivation. There are long extended metaphors of natural processes and evolutionary forces with their unforeseen consequences that are apt and well chosen; but all these don't add up to a great book.
The tale digressed and the structure became slack, making me reluctant to return to the tale. I could understand most of the folksy American vernacular but the mangled slangy speech and overuse of abbreviations like PBJ ( presumably peanut butter jelly) was tedious. The author has tried with her usual generous spirit to render the lives of disadvantaged people sympathetically. There is a palpable sense of her desperation in the face of an ignorant society slowly sawing itself off from its life support systems. She makes strong points concerning the dumbing down of the media and its misrepresentation of science. Interestingly, she is quite generous to the church,recognising its place as a bastion of a rural community without adequate social services.
She is amusing about the fatuous belief systems of the religious community while respecting the kindness and altruism of the pastor.
I'm sorry that the register of much of the language grated on my ear . Banal lives accurately rendered are banal.
I was pleased to finish this book. I persevered because I respect the author. I can't fully define why I wasn't more engaged. Perhaps it is because the author has an agenda that her characters must serve and it impairs their autonomy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved ~Flight Behaviour
Great book! I'll look at butterflies differently from now on. Also enjoyed the writing and family bits. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Madge
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 13 days ago by Mrs Virginia L Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An interesting storyline with depth.
Published 13 days ago by Jemlin
3.0 out of 5 stars Gave up...
I got 3/4 of the way through and gave up, its well written but not enough happens.
Published 14 days ago by Georgina Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking novel
Most enjoyable! This novel was well written and gripping, combining the story of a young mum and her family in the insular surroundings of Tennessee with wider concerns of ecology... Read more
Published 21 days ago by MO
5.0 out of 5 stars New Kingsolver
The book arrived as agreed and is a great read.
Published 21 days ago by JB
5.0 out of 5 stars Nature, science & family
I'm an avid reader of a variety of genres but whenever I begin a Barbara Kinsolver I find her writing in a higher league. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Rachel Coats
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a delight to read!
Published 23 days ago by Anna Lia Bright
4.0 out of 5 stars Flight or Fight
For me, this book took a whilst to settle into but it's themes were solid and consistent. The main character has strength and a maturity beyond her years. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Cjsbella
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a bit of a lecture...
Started well and could have been a great story. However, the MANY paragraphs on global warming, whilst informative, read like university lectures rather than a realistic... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Hellie
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