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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behavior

by Barbara Kingsolver

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2,7761873,006 (3.9)347

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Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
I am a huge Kingsolver fan, and I am sensitive to the message of this novel. I loved the story line of a woman in a marriage she feels trapped in and her awakening to the fact that she has options.I loved how we get to know people in this small Appalachian town. I did not enjoy the endless encyclopedic information about the Monarch Butterfly and it's migratory patterns and the effect Global Warming is having on this particular species as well as the rest of the planet. I felt that if I was not sensitive to this topic I would not have read the book, or at least would have stopped reading it, and so, as she was preaching to the choir, the author did not have to use the heavy hammer. I did not need a loooong chapter on shopping in a second hand store to get the "reuse it" message, a few paragraphs would suffice.

This felt like another instance where an author is so successful that editors dare not suggest or order cuts (talking to you John Irving!) that would make a novel more concise and less rambling, and, to me, boring. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
This book marks the culmination of Barbara Kingsolver's imaginative powers and prowess with multiple themes: class, race, ecology, transformation, family dynamics. A sophisticated portrait of a proletariat farm woman transformed in unexpected ways by her encounter with a black academic drawn to her town by an environmental anomaly with serious consequences. Kingsolver builds complicated characters who appear uncomplicated. I know all of these people: Dellarobia and Dovey in the dollar store, the cross-angles of misunderstanding that bisect Dellarobia's encounters with her mother-in-law, her intellectual awakening at the feet of an adored professor, her too-smart child, her well-meaning but inadequate husband. Kingsolver also explains why lower-class America often votes against its own interests. Scenes from this book are seared into my memory. A highlight of my year!
  deckla | Jul 10, 2018 |
Want to read some propaganda? This will work. I might have liked the story if she had just told the story and let me draw my own conclusions over what it might mean in the wider picture. She had an agenda that might have been spurred by the left wing political machine. I had more respect for Kingsolver, having read so many of her previous works, than to expect this.

I have also never thought I was out of sync with her regarding a main character, but I found Dellarobia unlikable, snobbish and self-important. There are too many caricatures of people here and not enough people. I didn't relate to anyone of them until we got a glimpse inside Hester at the end. That was, indeed, too late to care.

Why finish? Because Kingsolver has a literary style and a use of prose that is wonderful. She is a writer worth reading most of the time. I wish I could say that about this endeavor. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
This is a good, well written book for which I was not the best audience. Good characters, well plotted if a bit on message, this miracle/disaster story takes place in rural Tennessee when Dellarobia, a young wife and mother, is jolted from the path of what may be a huge mistake by a vision of fire, which turns out later to be a misplaced migration of Monarch butterflies. At stake is to live within family and community with few choices, and fewer good ones. ( )
  quondame | Jun 30, 2018 |
Dellarobia Turnbow is stuck in her life. She is heading off to a cabin to an illicit liaison with a young man when she sees something that will overturn her life - it seems that the entire hillside is aflame. So begins this book that is an examination of a small life that encounters something much larger than itself and the struggles that ensue. It is also a book about global warming and the challenges facing us as a species, but by being told at a very intimate level it becomes both less and more overwhelming at the same time.
This manages to not turn into a lecture, which is a feat in itself, and yet allows all its characters space to develop. From Hester, the farm matriarch, to Dellarobia and her son, Preston, they all grow and unfold and discover something of themselves and the world around them. Set in small town America, it highlights how badly off the poorest in society are and how differently the same things are viewed form the other side of the unseen divide. On so many levels, there is an us and them mentality, money, education, science, life has become very tribal. It's as unsettling as the global warming issue that is the background against which this is played out. The scene where the environmentalist is talking to Dellarobia about things people can do to reduce their impact is telling, and not a little dispiriting.
I enjoyed it and have the author on the list to revisit again. ( )
  Helenliz | Jun 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 183 (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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For Virginia Henry Kingsolver and Wendell Roy Kingsolver
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A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture.
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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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.

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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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