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Flight Behaviour Hardcover – 1 Nov 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (1 Nov 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0571290779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571290772
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,004 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.

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Review

'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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Nov 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback
"Flight behaviour" is wordplay to cover both the orange monarch butterflies deflected from their usual migration patterns by the effects of climate change, and a Tennessee farmer's wife, symbolically also flame-haired, seeking to escape from the trap of her marriage to a kind but dull husband still ruled by his domineering parents.

Although her small daughter Cordelia has been nicknamed "Cordie", Dellarobia does not shorten her own distinctive name. An ill-judged attempt at adultery is averted when she is amazed by the sight of a lake of fire which proves to be great clusters of butterflies clinging to tree trunks on the wooded slopes above her home. My interest was hooked when I realised that the incredible details of these insects and their life cycles are based on fact, the author being a trained biologist with a mission to inform us through fiction.

The arc of the overall story is strong, and Barbara Kingsolver explores some interesting themes, such as the varying attitudes to the butterflies when a team of scientists come to study them. The locals, for instance, tend to reject climate change because the popular media play it down, but the strongly religious community feels that the butterflies may have some special significance, even to the extent of questioning the right of Dellarobia's father-in-law's to earn much-needed cash from felling the trees in which the butterflies have chosen to winter.

"The Poisonwood Bible" is a hard act for the author to follow, but I found "Flight Behaviour" hard-going, partly because it often gets bogged down in detail and long-windedness, crying out for a good edit.
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140 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Nov 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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