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Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

Animal Dreams (original 1990; edition 2003)

by Barbara Kingsolver

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4,207531,186 (4)92
Title:Animal Dreams
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Perfection Learning (2003), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Occupy Portland Library, Lownsdale Square, 2011

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Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver (1990)



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I enjoy Kinsolver's descriptions of Arizona but the main character, Condi, just kept on getting the in the way of the scenery. I never grew to care about her past or her tough life or her inability to fit in. She spends the entire book wining and feeling sorry for herself when much of her trouble is of her own making! ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 11, 2014 |
This book has these amazing little tidbits of wisdom thrown into it. You could read it as fiction and ignore its lessons but you would be missing out, so don't. Read it as guidance. You'll get more out of it. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
Codi Nolina has returned to Grace, AZ to teach high school biology and keep an eye on her strong-willed father, Homer Nolina. Codi has spent her life drifting along, seeking a place to belong. She finished medical school, but not her internship. She has moved at the whim of her lover Carlo. And she has come to Grace expecting to leave in a year when her teaching contract has expired. Hallie, her sister, has just left for Nicaragua to work helping poor farmers with more efficient farming. Hallie is energized by life and lives it to the fullest. And Codi feels even more adrift due to the physical distance between herself and her sister. What Codi did not expect was to reconnect with her high school lover Loyd, a railroad man and half Apache/half Navaho.

Normally I am not a person who re-reads books. But this is the third time I have read this one and each time I feel it is new to me. I am drawn to Codi who feels she has no place to call home. I am drawn to Loyd and his close connection to the land. And I am drawn to the inhabitants of Grace, AZ. Probably I will read it again sometime. I feel the book is not finished with me. ( )
  punxsygal | Apr 12, 2014 |
Typically for Kingsolver, this story wraps characters around environmental and related political issues. In this Cosima returns to her home town, planning to stay for a year working as the science teacher. She discovers that the river running through the town has been polluted by the mine, which dominates the town's economy. It is not Cosima alone who fights this battle. Charmingly, the local woman create their peacock feather pinatas and sell them as art work to fund a fight against the industrial powers. In the meanwhile, Cosima struggles in a relationship with her a Native American man who she had known in high school, with her aging domineering doctor father, and with concern for her sister, who has ventured off to Nicaragua to help the indigenous people survive in the midst of civil war.

Overall, this is somewhat easier reading than some of Kingsolver's other books and a bit less polemic than Prodigal Summer. ( )
  bookfest | Mar 1, 2014 |
This book was captivating. Kingsolver has a rare gift of painting emotion with every word. She does not spend pages writing detailed descriptions of a character's face; she spends a novel intertwining characters personalities. You can feel the passion, the heavy sadness; you can see the world in which this story lives. She wrote so beautifully of Native American life, modern city life, loss in many ways (loss of body, mind, feeling, family) but also of gaining all those things back in a true-to-life format.

I could not put this book down. It is the story of Cosima [Codi] returning to her small, environmentally-threatened town of Grace, Arizona. Where she must deal with her distant father's worsening Alzheimer's, seeing the high-school sweetheart whose baby she miscarried without his knowledge and confront the rush of long-lost memories of childhood that consume her. It is the story of loss, of re-discovering a place she thought was lost to her, family secrets coming to light..

The story is also told through the eyes of Cosima's ailing father, Homero. His sections are brief but poetic, beautifully pained, delicate and encompassing.

Favorite quotes of the book:

1). "You don't ask questions of an attic"

2.) "[...] There was a roaring in my ears and I lost track of what they were saying. I believe it was the physical manifestation of unbearable grief."

3). "The flowers were beaten down, their bent-over heads bejeweled with diamond droplets like earring on sad, rich widows"
( )
  tealightful | Sep 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Barbara Kingsolver is one of an increasing number of American novelists who are trying to rewrite the political, cultural and spiritual relationships between our country's private and public spheres.
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His two girls are curled together like animals whose habit is to sleep underground, in the smallest space possible.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060921145, Paperback)

"Animals dream about the things they do in the day time just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life." So says Loyd Peregrina, a handsome Apache trainman and latter-day philosopher. But when Codi Noline returns to her hometown, Loyd's advice is painfully out of her reach. Dreamless and at the end of her rope, Codi comes back to Grace, Arizona to confront her past and face her ailing, distant father. What the finds is a town threatened by a silent environmental catastrophe, some startling clues to her own identity, and a man whose view of the world could change the course of her life. Blending flashbacks, dreams, and Native American legends, Animal Dreams is a suspenseful love story and a moving exploration of life's largest commitments. With this work, the acclaimed author of The Bean Trees and Homeland and Other Stories sustains her familiar voice while giving readers her most remarkable book yet.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this skillfully told novel by the author of The Bean Trees, a young woman returns to her hometown to care for her father and, without knowing it, herself. As usual, Codi is seeking to avoid life, but instead she finds plenty of it. She begins a complicated romance with a former boyfriend, corresponds with her sister, Hallie, who is kidnapped and then murdered in Nicaragua, tries to convince her father that his declining mental abilities are interfering with his work as a physician, and attempts to save the town from the evil Black Mountain Mining Company, which is poisoning the river and threatening the region's future. In alternating chapters, Kingsolver gives us Codi and her father, Homer, adroitly melding two viewpoints of one history. The book's southwestern setting proves particularly evocative: lush hot springs, dramatic vistas, and ancient pueblos are ideal envelopes for characters in deep introspection or loving embrace. The mixed Anglo and native American culture is equally colorful and unusually well developed. It's hard to find fault with this book--it manages to push all our emotional buttons without sacrificing fine craftsmanship.… (more)

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