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Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara…
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Flight Behavior: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Barbara Kingsolver

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Member:porch_reader
Title:Flight Behavior: A Novel
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Harper (2012), Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2012, fiction, favorite author

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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

2012 (13) 2013 (34) Appalachia (73) audio (10) book club (12) butterflies (74) climate change (88) ebook (22) ecology (14) environment (50) family (35) fiction (270) global warming (46) Kindle (26) literary fiction (13) literature (13) marriage (35) monarch butterflies (47) Monarchs (12) novel (33) poverty (10) read in 2012 (11) read in 2013 (23) relationships (15) science (35) scientists (16) Tennessee (63) to-read (107) unread (12) USA (14)
  1. 00
    The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (rockyblanco)
    rockyblanco: Same author but a very different subject.
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Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. She is brilliant! No other author can match the way she writes. This novel will not let you down and the only reason it's not getting 5 Stars is because it got bogged down in the middle. There was just too much of the same thing but I stuck with it and found it to be very enjoyable overall.

This novel has a great story line and, due to Ms. Kingsolver's research, I learned a lot about Monarch butterflies and raising sheep. Of course, I feel the primary point in this novel is to raise awareness of climate change/global warming. Who better to write this novel than Ms. Kingsolver because she is a biologist and has worked as a scientist. She brings the point across by weaving it into the incredible story line.

Highly recommended but be prepared for it to slow down in the middle.
There is an unexpected twist near the end that I never saw coming! ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Jun 13, 2014 |
This was okay, but not my favorite Kingsolver. It didn't knock me to the ground, as did The Poisonwood Bible or The Lacuna. That said, there is some good stuff here: climate change is indeed an important topic and I'm glad that Kingsolver chose to center this book around it and use the monarch migration as the book's focal point. Dellarobia makes a good story teller, but her deep frustration and unhappiness in her life sometimes made her hard to empathize with. I think its Dovey (the BFF) who says that Dellarobia doesn't let people get away with much and she's totally right on. It was hard to read Dellarobia's endless criticism of her husband, who, for all the faults she found with him, didn't really seem to be a bad guy. Likewise, Dellarobia's nearly palpable dislike of her mother in law, Hester, was also uncomfortable and it surprised me that not until nearly the end of the book that Dellarobia might not think that Hester might have some good reasons to be unhappy and cold herself. Nevertheless, Dellarobia did a good job representing the feelings of every day people who remain convinced that climate change is some sort of big hoax and her redemption comes when she begins to accept the idea. She's clearly intimidated by science and the scientists camped out in her barn to study the butterflies, but slowly becomes aware of the narrowness of her life and of her thinking. I'm not sure how realistic I think the ending is, but Dellarobia's separation from Cub didn't seem too shocking. I didn't think she could go back to her old life, either, after having learned so much about not only science, but herself and the world around her. ( )
  lisamunro | Jun 10, 2014 |
Just OK. Kingsolver is always didactic. There is always an issue. The issue here is climate change Sometimes she's brilliant as in Poisonwood Bible & The Lacunae. Here, she's a bit tedious, both in her polemic & in her storytelling. How many times do we really need to hear that the protagonist Dellarobia had a difficult childhood, is intellectually frustrated, was married young to a nice guy who's wrong for her (evidenced by the fact that she seems to lust after every attractive male who crosses her path). The cautionary tale about a fictional disruption of the Monarch butterfly's migratory behavior & risk of its extinction as a consequence of climate change is interesting enough, but the author lays it on pretty thick with Biblical images of The Flood & metaphorical images of Fire. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Although I have this book 4 stars, it disappointed me slightly and left me vaguely unsatisfied. If the author had been someone other than Barbara Kingsolver, perhaps I would have been more content, but I expect great things of Ms. Kingsolver.

I didn't like the first chapter at all. A discontented woman doing something silly – it smacked of a typical romance. But things changed, and quickly. People who still deny climate change will not be happy with this book.

The writing is beautiful, just the right amount of detail for me, words that flow smoothly and never take me out of the story. Some of the imagery is gorgeous.

My problem was with the protagonist, Dellarobia (love that name for a character). She seemed to lack empathy for anyone. Her husband, Cub, was big and slow and accepting, and certainly not an ideal husband, but Dellarobia was blind to his good qualities. I kind of liked the big, dumb guy.

Shopping for Christmas presents for the kids in a dollar store was poignant and touching and felt very real.

One special thing in a mundane life, and all the changes that are set on course by this one spectacular event. After that first chapter, I was willing to cut Dellarobia some slack, but she ultimately disappointed me. ( )
  TooBusyReading | May 18, 2014 |
Bound together by harsh truths related to poverty, disappointment, and climate change, Kingsolver's Flight Behavior moves forward with her signature lyric prose, weaving worlds that are both foreign and familiar. As always, her characters are not just believable, but engaging and, if anything, too realistic and familiar for comfort. In this novel in particular, the children and the odd mix of central characters are the heart of the work, illustrating the heartbreaking disconnect between devoted naturalists and a community which is necessarily held outside of that world by economic concerns and personal crises of their own.

Even though it took some time for me to engage with Kingsolver's narrator here, I ended up not being able to put the book down once I'd moved through maybe a quarter of the novel, and the compelling story that evolves in the work held me in until the end. My only complaint, in the end, is with the ending. The wrap-up felt not only rushed, but unbelievable on some levels of plotting and character, and after such a wonderful tale, I really expected more. Despite the ending, though, the book was well worth reading and passing on.

Overall, recommended. The ending is the only thing that will hold this off from remaining a favorite of mine. ( )
  whitewavedarling | May 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 122 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Kingsolverprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kingsolver, BarbaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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