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Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman's narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel's inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.
Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.
Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Barbara Kingsolver starts off strong in this book. She constructs an interesting story with good people. The novel is up todate and full of modern references. The story lines are easy to follow, maybe a little too simple. There is no strong ending as with the problems presented in the book have no answers, and there the reader is left hanging. When I read a book of fiction I want an ending! A novel is a make believe story, make an ending, for Pete's sake!
An uncomfortable truth is the background for this work of fiction. We don't know how the story ends, but we have an idea. Thought provoking; almost couldn't put it down.
Moving and thoughtful
Kingsolver combines a plea about global warming with a thoughtful portrait of a community for whom scientists and environmentalists are an entirely foreign species.