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Prodigal Summer: A Novel by Barbara…
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Prodigal Summer: A Novel (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Barbara Kingsolver

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7,134153501 (4)302
Member:EsotericMoment
Title:Prodigal Summer: A Novel
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Harper Perennial (2001), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction

Work details

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (2000)

  1. 40
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Booksloth, Anonymous user)
  2. 20
    State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (BillPilgrim)
    BillPilgrim: I heard the comparison/recommendation here: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/07/25/midmorning2/
  3. 00
    Where the Wild Things Were by William Stolzenburg (Othemts)
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English (149)  French (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
I really loved this book. I'm a big fan of Kingsolver's anyway, but I can't believe I waited so long for this one. I did choose the audio version, which was read by the author, and I have to say her voices and accents and pace really transported me there. As usual, she weaves so many important lessons into her narrative. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
This is the first fiction work of Barbara Kingsolver that I have read - I know, I don't know how I've escaped her until now! Just kidding. I really liked this book. At first I was sort of put off by the multiple character viewpoints, but I really came to love how the stories touched each other, just barely, and how the characters themselves changed. This is a wonderful exploration of solitude, family, belonging, and change. And there's a definite thread of sensuality woven throughout. Having read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you can definitely see Kingsolver's views on modern farming, food politics, and our destruction of the natural world coming out of the mouths of her characters. Luckily for me, I hold similar views with her about 95% of the time, so this wasn't a detraction from the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves nature or anyone who has ever felt like an outsider looking in at the lives of others, and felt uncertain about whether they even wanted to be included in the first place. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
Probably my 2nd favorite Kingsolver ( )
  ellenuw | Jan 27, 2016 |
Beautifully written, completely engrossing tale of one summer in the southern Appalachians. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
In one hot summer, three couples come together in a small Appalachian. The culmination of their relationships will open their eyes to a whole new world and change everything. Forest Ranger Deanna Woolfe, living in seclusion for two years on Zebulon Mountain falls under the spell of a hunter on the trail of her most beloved predator, the coyote. While down below in the town of Egg Creek, young Lusa Landowski, born and bred in the city, finds herself unexpectedly widowed and left to run the family farm and navigate the intracacies of a close-knit family. Finally, there is a old Garnett Walker trying desperately to recreate te American Chestnut is fighting a loosing battle with his neighbor Nannie Rawley, who has managed to captivate everyone in town except him. While at first these stories seem to have nothing to do with each other, eventually the all come together, united by the bonds of family, as is only possible in a small town where everyone is related to you one way or another.

This was my first Kingsolver, and while I enjoyed the book, I was a little overwhelmed. Kingsolver has been so hyped that I was expecting more and came out a tad disappointed. I was very impressed by her use of nature almost as a character itself. In fact, I found that the "character" of nature was better developed than the actual people, and often times more interesting, especially in the case of Deanna and Eddie. To be honest, I would have been perfectly happy if Deanna's story hadn't been included. I found Lusa's story, and to a lesser extent Garnett and Nannie's story, far more interesting. I think that, particularly in Lusa's case, a whole book could have been made just about what was happening in her life and on her farm and I would have gotten more out of it. It was a good story and I would certainly recommend it, but it and Kingsolver, definitely won't be making it onto my must-read list. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
Readers hoping for the emotional intensity and wide-angle vision of ''The Poisonwood Bible,'' Kingsolver's magnificent 1998 epic about a self-destructing missionary family in the newly independent Congo, will most likely be disappointed. But the legions of fans primed on earlier books like ''Animal Dreams'' and ''The Bean Trees'' will find themselves back on familiar, well-cleared ground of plucky heroines, liberal politics and vivid descriptions of the natural world.
 
In an improbably appealing book with the feeling of a nice stay inside a terrarium, Ms. Kingsolver means to illustrate the nature of biological destiny and provide enlightened discourse on various ecological matters.
 
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Epigraph
Prothalamium
Come, all you who are not satisfied
as ruler in a lone, wallpapered room
full of mute birds, and flowers that falsely bloom,
and closets choked with dreams that long ago died!
Come, let us sweep the old streets--like a bride:
sweep out dead leaves with a relentless broom;
prepare for Spring, as though he were our greem
for whose light footstep eagerly we bide.
We'll sweep out shadows, where the rats long fed;
sweep out our shame--and in its place we'll make
a bower for love, a splendid marriage-bed
fragrant with flowers aquiver for the Spring.
And when he comes, our murdered dreams shall wake;
and when he comes, all the mute birds shall sing.
--Aaron Kramer
Dedication
--for Steven, Camille, and Lily,
and for wildness, where it lives
First words
Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits.
Quotations
Arguments could fill a marriage like water, running through everything, always, with no taste or color but lots of noise.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060959037, Paperback)

There is no one in contemporary literature quite like Barbara Kingsolver. Her dialogue sparkles with sassy wit and earthy poetry; her descriptions are rooted in daily life but are also on familiar terms with the eternal. With Prodigal Summer, she returns from the Congo to a "wrinkle on the map that lies between farms and wildness." And there, in an isolated pocket of southern Appalachia, she recounts not one but three intricate stories.

Exuberant, lush, riotous--the summer of the novel is "the season of extravagant procreation" in which bullfrogs carelessly lay their jellied masses of eggs in the grass, "apparently confident that their tadpoles would be able to swim through the lawn like little sperms," and in which a woman may learn to "tell time with her skin." It is also the summer in which a family of coyotes moves into the mountains above Zebulon Valley:

The ghost of a creature long extinct was coming in on silent footprints, returning to the place it had once held in the complex anatomy of this forest like a beating heart returned to its body. This is what she believed she would see, if she watched, at this magical juncture: a restoration.
The "she" is Deanna Wolfe, a wildlife biologist observing the coyotes from her isolated aerie--isolated, that is, until the arrival of a young hunter who makes her even more aware of the truth that humans are only an infinitesimal portion in the ecological balance. This truth forms the axis around which the other two narratives revolve: the story of a city girl, entomologist, and new widow and her efforts to find a place for herself; and the story of Garnett Walker and Nannie Rawley, who seem bent on thrashing out the countless intimate lessons of biology as only an irascible traditional farmer and a devotee of organic agriculture can. As Nannie lectures Garnett, "Everything alive is connected to every other by fine, invisible threads. Things you don't see can help you plenty, and things you try to control will often rear back and bite you, and that's the moral of the story."

Structurally, that gossamer web is the story: images, phrases, and events link the narratives, and these echoes are rarely obvious, always serendipitous. Kingsolver is one of those authors for whom the terrifying elegance of nature is both aesthetic wonder and source of a fierce and abiding moral vision. She may have inherited Thoreau's mantle, but she piles up riches of her own making, blending her extravagant narrative gift with benevolent concise humor. She treads the line between the sentimental and the glorious like nobody else in American literature. --Kelly Flynn

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:03 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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