by Barbara Kingsolver
Chaos. Beauty. The cycle of life and death, destruction and creation. Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, Flight Behavior, shows us the beauty of every day life, and the tragedy of miracles. The novel takes place in a small Appalachian town in Tennessee, where a woman struggles to find the balance between her needs and the actuality of her life. When we first meet Dellarobia, she seems to be fleeing her home, driven on by her own lust and need, willing to through her entire life away for the simple pleasure of giving in to desire. What she finds instead is a miracle. Monarch butterflies, millions of them, in columns on the trees, floating through the air, and underfoot. Her near act of selfishness is the first step in a series of changes for herself, her family, and the town in which she lives. Dellarobia’s life expands as the butterflies bring scientists, tourists, and activists into her life, and into her front yard.
Kingsolver addresses the issue of the effects of climate change and of harmful acts towards natural environments, such as logging, by exploring the life cycle of butterfly through the eyes of a woman whose personal metamorphosis becomes linked to the survival of the butterflies she accidentally stumbled upon. Dellarobia’s growth through the novel, the changes seen in her family, her friends, and the life of a small town, as well as the trials of the butterflies who have flown miles from their normal path are a gripping, emotional read.
Barbara Kingsolver will be speaking on Flight Behavior on November 27th at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Salon@615 series.
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