In Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer
the characters are intimately connected to the countryside that they inhabit and are seen as an integral part of the flora and fauna of the novel's setting--the Appalachian Mountains, in Alabama. The novel teems with life; everything is a-buzz with reproductive hormones--animals, plants and people alike. Up in the mountains nature is getting down to the business of keeping itself going, and the novel's characters are also consciously or instinctively caught up with procreation.
Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, wanders the mountain trails and watches a den of coyotes, while becoming involved with a young hunter; Lusa Maluf Landowski, who loves moths, finds herself mourning her farmer husband, surrounded by his relations and their children. Even those past child-bearing age, like grumpy old Garnett and his feisty neighbour Nannie wrangle over pesticides and weeds, and then succumb to love. All around them flowers bloom and trees blossom. It is a beautifully observed novel, reminiscent of the work of Annie Dillard and Rachel Carson. Deanna says: "So much detail goes unnoticed in the world" but Kingsolver has used her biologist eye to see even the smallest thing. Pulsing fire flies, the powdery scales on a moth's body, cub coyotes playing like swimming dolphins are caught in her gaze. The characters in thrall to their hormones and their hearts are regarded with the same attention.
Prodigal Summer is a hugely involving novel, written with a graceful compassion for all living things and their vital interactions with each other, making it a joy to read. Kingsolver's previous novels include The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven. --Eithne Farry
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"'(Barbara Kingsolver's)...marvellously subtle and compelling tale of a southern Appalachian farming community in tense interplay with the wilderness on its doorstep, contains a deft parable of humankind's place in nature. Prodigal Summer is a rich and compulsive read. Its acute and sensuous observation of the natural world reveals an unexpected beauty, as it traces human love in the flight of a luna moth.' Guardian"