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Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
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Flight Behaviour (edition 2012)

by Barbara Kingsolver

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2,4391732,533 (3.9)329
Member:infosleuth
Title:Flight Behaviour
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Faber and Faber (2012), Edition: Export - Airside ed., Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:All books read, Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:American fiction, literary, butterflies, Appalachia, North Carolina, families, environment, climate

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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

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English (169)  Catalan (3)  German (1)  All (173)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
I love reading this author. Her language is so rich, and precise. She's really got the details of what it's like being stuck at home all day with small children. I didn't know what the book is about, first going in. So when I read the initial descriptions of the wonder of nature the main character Dellarobia finds in the woods above her family's farm, it was a beautiful puzzle to figure out what she was seeing before she figured it out herself. It's a finely crafted story. Dellarobia lives in rural Appalachia, kind of drifting through life, settling for less. She tends her two small children, chafes under her mother-in-law's criticism, and tolerates her endlessly patient, dull husband. She thinks of herself as stuck in a situation caused by an error made when she was younger- and is deliberately aiming to make another mistake that could ruin it all when she happens upon this wondrous thing up in the mountain. A discovery that might thwart her father-in-law's plans to log the hillside for some desperately-needed income. A discovery that draws strangers to their door- news reporters, sightseers, environmental activists and a scientist who opens her mind to the wider world. It's a story of family and community, of facing facts and changing perceptions. Very much about current issues, particularly climate change. Some might think it really heavy-handed with the environmental message, but I found it a perfect weight. Even though there are several long scenes where Dellarobia hashes out ideas and has long arguments- one with her husband, the other with her best friend- in public while shopping- so there are pages and pages of them going up and down the aisles, weaving their inspection of items on the shelf through their argument. Kind of odd. And the ending made me sad. I was hoping that the main character would make a different decision, and not reveal it quite so abruptly to her young son... Regardless, I liked the book and it is one that will stick with me.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Mar 2, 2017 |
This book was way too boring for me. I would skip pages at a time, and didn't miss much of the story line at all. This book could have been half the pages. ( )
  AnnikaBirgitta | Feb 28, 2017 |

The book’s title can be seen as having a double meaning as Kingsolver weaves the story of the changing flight patterns of the Monarch butterflies, seen as a miracle by many in the Appalachian community, with Dellarobia’s story of how she blossoms as her talents are revealed when scientists arrive in the community to study the butterflies.

The deviation into heavy-handed preaching about climate change in the middle of the book was an unwelcome intrusion. Without going into spoiler territory, a decision by Dellarobia and how she shares it nearly ruined the book for me. But Dellarobia’s compelling story and Kingsolver’s beautiful writing bumped my rating up to 4 stars. The ending will surely be a lively topic at my book club meeting!

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Flight Behaviour reminded me that I have not read enough books set in today’s world. It was a refreshing notion that made the story feel personal and very real. It reconnected me to the world, which is a strange thing for me since I usually read to escape. The idea of escapism is not something uncommon to most people and I bet I am not alone when I say that I read to forget. We do many things in our daily lives so we can pretend that the real and important things are either not that important or not there at all.

Barbara Kingsolver addresses escapism through her beautiful characters Dellarobia, Cub, Preston, Dovey, Bobby, Hester, Bear, and Ovid. Each character seems to be trying to escape something: Dellabrobia wants to escape her marriage with Cub; Hester wants to escape from the pain and guilt of giving up a child for adoption; and Cub wants to escape the oppression he feels from his parents, Bear and Hester. Kingsolver does not stop there: she addresses one of the world’s most controversial topics to date: climate change. Is it real? Is it lies? Kingsolver provides a rich discussion about climate change through a thread that ties her whole book together.

I am a firm believer that climate change is happening, now. We, as inhabitants of this planet need to be doing more to help reverse and slow down these effects. It is great to see popular literature address this issue in such a strong and meaningful way. Kingsolver provides opinions from both sides of the debate and also offers explanations for climate change in very accessible way.

I really recommend this book as a must read not just because of its discussions on climate change, but also because this is a very well written book. Kingsolver has some really great writing in this book. I might even go as far as saying some of her best. The characters are so real and personable that I felt like I was losing a friend when the story ended (Barbara: If you feel like doing a follow up story on Dellarobia then I would totally be okay with that).

I would like to end with a few wonderful quotes from the book. Don’t forget to share, comment, and like!

“You never knew which split second might be the zigzag bolt dividing all that went before from everything that comes next.”

“It was the same dull, stripped ceiling that had been up there last week, last month, forever. 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 drywall job.” ( )
  bound2books | Feb 12, 2017 |
I enjoyed most of the book. I had a rough time getting into it and was struck with incredulity for a moment at the end. It might be my least favorite of Kingsolver's books, but since I love everything else of hers that I've read, that doesn't stop Flight Behavior from being praise-worthy. As an environmental writer, I learned from reading this book, and I'll probably read it again sometime. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Climate change, for every good and topical reason, headlines Barbara Kingsolver’s marvelous eighth novel. But not to be undersold are its characters, rendered so believably and affectionately, they warm the atmosphere on their own.
 
...... Kingsolver's masterly evocation of an age – ours, here, now – stumbling wilfully blind towards the abyss is an elegy not just for the endangered monarch butterfly, but 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.
added by marq | editThe Guardian, Liz Jensen (Nov 2, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Virginia Henry Kingsolver and Wendell Roy Kingsolver
First words
A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture.
Quotations
Realistically, it probably wasn't slave children, but there had to be armies of factory workers making this slapdash stuff, underpaid people cranking out things for underpaid people to buy and use up, living their lives mostly to cancel each other out. A worldwide entrapment of bottom feeders.
If people played their channels right, they could be spared from disagreement for the length of their natural lives. Finally she got it. The need for so many channels.
There are always more questions. Science as a process is never complete. It is not a foot race, with a finish line. He warned her about this as a standard point of contention. People will always be waiting at a particular finish line: journalists with their cameras, impatient crowds eager to call the race, astounded to see the scientists approach, pass the mark, and keep running. It's a common misunderstanding, he said. They conclude there was no race. As long as we won't commit to knowing everything, the presumption is we know nothing.
I never learn anything from listening to myself . . . .
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.
Haiku summary
Climate change is bad / But what to do? Kingsolver / has all the answers.
(rosalita)

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Set in the present day in the rural community of Feathertown, Tennessee, Flight Behavior tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a petite, razor-sharp 29-year-old who nurtured worldly ambitions before becoming pregnant and marrying at seventeen. Now, after more than a decade of tending to small children on a failing farm, oppressed by poverty, isolation and her husband's antagonistic family, she has mitigated her boredom by surrendering to an obsessive flirtation with a handsome younger man. In the opening scene, Dellarobia is headed for a secluded mountain cabin to meet this man and initiate what she expects will be a self-destructive affair. But the tryst never happens. Instead, she walks into something on the mountainside she cannot explain or understand: a forested valley filled with silent red fire that appears to her a miracle. After years lived entirely in the confines of one small house, Dellarobia finds her path suddenly opening out, chapter by chapter, into blunt and confrontational engagement with her family, her church, her town, her continent, and finally the world at large.--publisher.… (more)

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