Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Morning, readers! I'm a stop on the TLC tour for Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior today.

Dellarobia Turnbow is on her way to beginning an affair when she sees something inexplicable and amazing. The mountain area above her home seems to be on fire. Bright orange covers the trees. Dellarobia turns around and goes home, without saying much about the whole thing. When she learns that her father-in-law is in talks with a timber company to clear cut the same area, she suggests her husband and his father go up the mountain to look at what's being cut. Though she's vague -- in an attempt to allay any possible suspicion of her behavior -- the men do trek up the path. The orange "flames" Dellarobia witnessed turn out to be millions of monarch butterflies. Soon everyone wants to witness this miracle from God. Dellarobia is being hailed as a saint for her vision, but she knows it's something else. When a lepidopterist turns up to study the monarchs, a new world begins to open up for Dellarobia. 

I loved Dellarobia. I felt her frustration and her pain, her elation and her affection for her children. Hers is a situation that's truly difficult. I really wasn't sure as the story began. Here's a woman who's set off for a tryst with a man she barely knows. And she reveals that she's flirted with the idea before. She paints her husband as something of a saint, but as we get to know more about her and her family, it becomes clear why she would fantasize about getting out.

I've never read Kingsolver before now, so I really wasn't sure what to expect. Yes, I've heard plenty about her work in the past and I've picked up and considered her books many times before now. My twin sisters even had to read The Poisonwood Bible in school one year (and surprisingly the paranormal romance fan said she enjoyed Poisonwood).

I had some reservations at the beginning. In truth, I was craving a quick and easy read that I could dive into for a few hours and get lost in. With the exception of diving in (for more than a few hours) and getting lost, Flight Behavior was none of those things. It's a dense read filled with beautiful and melodic prose that begs to be read at a very leisurely pace. What's more, it's a book that makes you think.

Environmental and social issues are a big part of the Flight Behavior. Whatever your opinion might be on either, I think Flight Behavior is an excellent read. The rich detail and the characters alone are an appealing draw even if you may not agree with Kingsolver's opinions. I personally never found the book to be "preachy" though I have seen a few murmurings of such amongst other reviews.

For more stops on the tour, visit the official tour page here.

For more on the author and her work, you can check out her official site here. You can also like her on Facebook.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I don't think this is Kingsolver's best work, but frankly even her pretty good stuff is a heckuva lot better than most of what gets published these days! I agree that it wasn't preachy; it's clear what her position is on these things, but she also raises important points that the left frequently overlooks out of convenience: like many times people have to choose "selling out" the environment in order to provide for their families. If we eradicated poverty in the US, we could then direct more efficient attention to issues like MTR.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on the beauty of this book, and didn't find it preachy either. In fact, it may be Kingsolver at her best for me. I read all of her books.
here is my review: http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/10/29/2012-55-review-flight-behavior/

Becky LeJeune said...

I kind of like that this was my first by Kingsolver. I had no real expectations and really enjoyed the book. That also means that I can now expect even more from her backlist!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I loved POISONWOOD BIBLE but haven't loved some of Kingsolver's other books. This one sounds like it would be perfect for me though.

Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.