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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behavior

by Barbara Kingsolver

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Tired of living on a failing farm and suffering oppressive poverty, bored housewife Dellarobia Turnbow, on the way to meet a potential lover, is detoured by a miraculous event on the Appalachian mountainside that ignites a media and religious firestorm that changes her life forever.
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Page turner - climate change science and a fictitious event of monarch butterflies overwintering in the Appalachians instead of a town in Mexico. Dellarobia is an intense character ... the ending dramatic. ( )
  siri51 | Aug 6, 2019 |
Another book by Kingsolver that I really loved. This is her newest and it meshes the fictional plight of a monarch butterfly population with the challenges of a family living in rural Tennessee. The book centers around climate change and how it has effected the butterflies, causing them to winter in Tennessee when their normal mountain top in Mexico changes too much to sustain them. A scientist and his team arrive on the property of the Turnbow's where the parents Hester and Bear own the land and their adult child, Cub, and his wife Dellarobia live in a separate house with their two children.

Kingsolver's books work for me because there is always an interesting context (as in climate change here) but she keeps her characters at the heart of the novel and never loses sight of them in favor of preaching about a cause. Dellarobia is the heart of this novel and she is a beautifully written character - intelligent and funny (the kind of observant, quick, and occasional wit that you want in a best friend) but also fallible. I loved the character interactions in this book and also loved that the children were part of the story. I feel like children are seldom realistically drawn in a novel and these were done very well, including how Dellarobia felt about them. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 7, 2019 |
Barbara Kingsolver is amazing! Her characters are so incredibly real. She really helped me to understand how another person thinks. A real service to create empathy with a group that many will never meet, but will judge. Ms Kingsolver is also an excellent reader of her book. I love the cadence and gentle accent in her voice. Very educational as well as a great story. I had a little trouble with the ending. But over all really loved experiencing this world. ( )
  njcur | Jun 1, 2019 |
Dellarobia is a little too gorgeous and smart to be believed, but it's an engrossing story bringing out discussions of environment and class. On a day that she's ready to get caught philandering and upend her world, she is deterred by the miracle of a butterfly migration gone awry. It's not terribly far into the future and climate change threatens to upend everyone's world. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
At first I wondered who Kingsolver might be writing for. Her language which as usual beautifully and richly imparts a sense of place seemed to be condescending the the sort of person who would seek out a novel on climate change. Indeed as other reviewers have said her characters seem vehicles for her opinions on the matter. Then it struck me perhaps she is grappling through this book of how difficult and multifaceted an issue it really is to get the 'climate change deniers' to even entertain the positions of the other side. She points out that many folks have adopted their views and taken them on as identities. It would be folly, as the characters point , out to educate someone out of an identity to which they cling tightly. I enjoyed it and was frustrated all the same. I miss the cozy somewhat predictable Kingsolver but perhaps this is where she is now saying what she needs to say. ( )
  Jandrew74 | May 26, 2019 |
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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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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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