Susan's Reviews > Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
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's review
May 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in May, 2012

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver includes her oft-used theme about the inter-connectedness of the earth and its creatures. A triple narration, this book tells the stories of three people living on or near tobacco farmland in rural Virginia: Deanna, who post-divorce, escapes to a solitary life as a wildlife researcher, trail maintainer, and poacher guard on a mountain above the farmland where she grew up; Lusa, a bugologist as she describes herself to her niece, is recently widowed and trying to decide if she stay on her husband's family farm that she has inherited or return to her research scientist life in the city; and Garnett, an elderly curmudgeon, who is trying to create a blight-resistant American chestnut, while arguing with his elderly, female neighbor about pesticides, creationism, and farming. Although Kingsolver uses these characters to debate her beliefs about environmental stewardship, the book is a great read since I found myself caught up in each of the three dramas that seem separate beyond geographical proximity until the characters and plots become inter-twined. Just like Kingsolver espouses all animals are reliant upon each other, the humans in the novel find they need each other to survive.

I don't think I have read this book before (although it is possible), but some scenes I know I have read, making me wonder if part of this novel came from Kingsolver's short stories. It must be because the scene where Lusa approaches her brothers-in-law and they drink moonshine by the barn and have some flirtatious moments, I'm sure happened to a different character in a different story. I'll have to see if I can find it! Also, I highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible -- another great Kingsolver book (might be her best).

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