This novel is not so much plotted as woven, and the result is an intricate, sensual tapestry about every organism's drive to replicate itself. You may never look at a flower in quite the same light after you read this one! It's also the story of three women adapting to changes in their lives and returning to that dance of life when they thought they had left the floor. Outstanding, as Kingsolver's novels always are.
I liked just about everything about this book beginning with the setting - the farms, mountains and remote wilderness areas of southern Appalachia in the summertime. In this beautifully written novel Barbara Kingsolver writes with fascinating detail about the lushness of the natural world, providing us with one amazing fact after another about how perfectly balanced nature is in terms of the food chain, prey and predator, and the way nature keeps reproducing itself from season to season, year after year unless we human beings interfere in the process. Set against this backdrop, Prodigal Summer tells the stories of three intriguing protaganists - each of them outsiders in one way or another, who are connected to each other in different ways. Their stories unfold along side each other under three separate chapter headings (Predators, Moth Love,and Old Chestuts) that keep reappearing throughout the novel as we gradually become aware of how their lives are connected. Ultimately, this is a novel about the way all things are connected to one another and how it is that for humans love - in it's many forms - is the strongest connection of all.
Couldn't make it past page 22. NOT my cup of tea. Its the first time I've ever not forced myself to finish a book I started. Too corny, even for me (and I like corny). Starts with a girl who secludes herself for 2 years from all people and lo/behold a handsome rugged man appears and why oh why does she feel a tingling in her loins? Could she really like this guy? Please. Sorry to Kingsolver fans, I've heard good things but for me it wasn't this one.
I like Barbara Kingsolver's novels, but I'm afraid to read her nonfiction because what if it's more preachy than her fiction is?
The woman can write, and I loved getting lost in the descriptions of western Virginia, and the earthy connections she makes between the reader and the scenes. At the same time, it's like she's the green movement's Ayn Rand. Her bad guys are laughable straw men (and here I'm thinking of The Poisonwood Bible in addition to Prodigal Summer), and her protagonists are both good and didactic.
Still, this narrative of three loosely connected people in one particularly rich fertile summer is a great read. And nature is a horn dog.
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."
Cindy F. reviewed Prodigal Summer (Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 3
This is one of my all time favorite books! I highly recommend this for anyone who is looking for a "great escape." Barbara Kingsolver is one of the best and most descriptive writer I have ever had the pleasure to read. You will literally get lost in this book. It is beautiful.
After reading this one, I looked for others by this author and found The Poisonwood Bible. I enjoyed that one just as much, and maybe even more. It spans approximately 50 years in the lives of a family, who find themselves trying to survive in South Africa where the father has been sent as a minister. It is an incredible and emotional story that stayed with me for weeks afterwards. The story also made me rethink my values and views. If you like to read and you like to be challenged mentally, you will not be disappointed reading Barbara Kingsolver.
We read this book for our book club. I was pleasantly surprised. It was the first book that we read that everyone liked. The 3 story lines are all quite interesting. Lovely description of the local area. When the books finishes you wish there was a sequal.
I think Barbara Kingsolver is a fantastic author. This was one of those rare books where you're immensely sad when you reach the last page, because you just want to continue reading.
I love the way the author gives you a glimpse of the lives of three main characters, and slowly reveals how each character's live is interwoven with the others. This book shows the value and necessity of both preserving wilderness and of taming it. It's an easy, effortless read, but it has a lot of substance. I highly recommend!
Unoriginal writing and trite message. For the life of me, I cannot understand what the fuss is about this book. The stories moved slow, the writing was cumbersome and seemed like something fresh out of a writing seminar - too dense to be of any good to anyone.
This was a beautifully written, multilayered novel about the interrelatedness of all things. Through the eyes of three characters in southern Appalachia over the course of a summer, we are reminded of the rhythms of nature and of the effects that humans unwittingly have on ecological systems. The author also displays an understanding of family and community dynamics, which are often a mess of misunderstandings, love, resentment, and support all at once. Definitely recommended.
I cannot understand why the negative reviews were shown first. This was an exquisite book. For me it was like savoring a fine meal or wine. It took me forever to read because I didn't want it to end. My reading list totals over 5,000 books. They were gleaned from many different genres in over sixty years and I can assure you this one should not be missed. Normally I am finished with a book over a few hours this book was savored over days. You owe it to yourself to read at least once.
Barbara Kingsolver's fifth novel is a hymn in 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. Over the course of on e humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonist face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and funa with which they necessarily share a place.
A beatuiful book by Barabara Kingsolver, "Prodigal Summer" weaves together three stories of residents of Southern Appalachia: a single Forestry Service worker who finds love in the woods, a elderly man set in his ways who can't stand his newest neighbor, and a widowed farm wife who finds solace in books and moths. The way that these stories come together is wonderful and satisfying. A great read!
When I first started reading this book, I hated it. I thought it was going to be some kind of romance book. As I continued, though, I began to love the characters and the story. This is a story of nature, romance, and many lives that intertwine in unexpected ways.
"Barbara Kingsolver's fifth novel is 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.
Over the course of one humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place."
Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and the flora and fauna with whcih they necessarily share place. One of my favorite books of all time!
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.
Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes the countryside, these characters find their connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they share a place. With the complexity that characterizes Barbara Kingsolver's finest work, Prodigal Summer embraces pure thematic originality and demonstrates a balance of narrative, drama, and ideas that render it an inspiring work of fiction.
It kept me interested enough to keep reading. I didn't hate it by any means. it's just that I was unable to locate the plot. Also, I've read in other reviews about the nature compared to real life metaphors; they were completely lost on me.
Lesley R. reviewed Prodigal Summer (Large Print) on
Loved this book. Excellent writing style. I couldn't put the book down and looked forward to reading it constantly. Went out and bought another Kingsolver immediately after finishing. Highly recommend it!
Good, but not great. Maybe if you're not a Kingsolver die-hard and you just want a nice light novel, but my expectations are higher: I expect everything she writes to knock my socks off. This didn't do it for me.
When i first started this book, I wrote, "Kingsolver seduces the reader into the book with her lyrical and poetic writing.". If I'd only known how prophetic that was! This is a beautiful book to be read slowly and savored.
The story takes place over one summer and tells three stories of love. The language and phrasing is so beautiful that I had to stop periodically and let what I had read sink in. It literally took my breath away in so many places.
This is not a "beach read". You need time to absorb all the beauty that Kingsolver gives you.
I feel privileged to have been able to read it. I'd recommend it to anyone who really loves to read and loves language used at its best!
What an amazing story teller this author is..lyrical. enjoyed each character, wishing there was a number 2, just to keep in touch with them. If you want a book to escape with this is a good one, but does not move very fast, but I still will remember this story for a very long time.
I love this book so much that I have the audio, and 2 copies of a First Edition hardcover, and yet I hesitated a year before posting one of them. A grand story of love and death and nature and growing old, with and definitely without, grace. My favorite sections are titled, Old Chestnuts, and are when Nannie Rawley and Garnett Walker two neighboring, aging farmers with very, very different ideas about life and growing, take center stage. I hated for this big book to end.
A very well-written, beautiful, poignant story with very well-developed characters, that is not your typical novel & in that is what makes it so enticing and so refreshing!! At least in my opinion!A novel I thought about long after it was over!j
Kingsolver takes a handful of characters and tells you their stories through their eyes. By the end of the book, she has tied everyone together, though when you first meet the characters you wonder how this could ever happen. She makes a compelling argument for organic farming, but not in an overly in-your-face sort of way. I recommend this book to others frequently.
Donna (bookowl) - , reviewed Prodigal Summer (Large Print) on
Three wonderful parallel stories of women whose lives are linked in subtle ways. The author's narrative is magical, and the characters are so well developed that they seem like old friends by the time the novel ends. The reader is transported to the Virginia mountains and experiences nature with all five senses. I didn't want it to end!
Kingslover weaves together characters and nature to form one of the most beautiful tapestries I've ever encountered. The writing itself is lyrical and dense, much like foliage, and the characters are interesting (with depths revealed slowly). You can bet that you'll never see my copy up for trade, since I'm loathe to part with it... so grab this one if you can!
I could not put this book down! It may be living in nature myself, made me appreciate this book more. I loved the way she included facts about nature through out the story. My only disappointment with this book was when it came to an end.....I wanted more! Then I found she would not do a sequel to this one. Darn!
From the back cover: This is a novel of "big ideas"--life, death, procreation--with a multi-layered storyline. Kingsolver accomplishes this wiht deftness, using words with elegance and exuberance. Daily Telegraph
Although I enjoyed others of Kingsolver's books, I found these characters to be overly contrived to represent opposing viewpoints of human relationships with the natural world. The conversations and inner thoughts of the characters are tedious and repetitive. The characters are flawed and neurotic with not not enough redeeming qualities to be likable. The story is not interesting enough to support the dialogs.
Barbara Kingsolver, a writer praised for her "extravagantly gifted narrative voice" (New York Times Book Review), has created with this novel a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia. At the heart of these intertwined narratives is a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches the forest from her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin where she is caught off-guard by Eddie Bondo, a young hunter who comes to invade her most private spaces and confound her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, another web of lives unfolds as Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself unexpectedly marooned in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land. And a few more miles down the road, a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors tend their respective farms and wrangle about God, pesticides, and the complexities of a world neither of them expected. Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes a green and profligate countryside, these characters find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place. Their discoveries are embedded inside countless intimate lessons of biology, the realities of small farming, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one part of life on earth. With the richness that characterizes Barbara Kingsolver's finest work, Prodigal Summer embraces pure thematic originality and demonstrates a balance of narrative and ideas that only an accomplished novelist could render so beautifully. :