Kingsolver, Barbara "Flight Behaviour" - 2012
I am a fan of Barbara Kingsolver and her novels. I love her writing style, I love her stories, I love the subjects she talks about. She is a very environmentally oriented person who knows how to write about this highly important subject that is far too often dismissed by people who think they can save some money and disregard the impacts it has on our future and, even more, the future of our children. Yes, I am, as a friend once put it, a "damn environmentalist", I have been wondering what is going to happen to our world for decades, people have been laughing at me for sorting my trash long before it was "fashionable".
What is so great about this novel? Barbara Kingsolver brings the impact of environmental pollution, of climate change to the most rural area you can imagine, to a part where people think if they don't pay attention to the big bad world, nothing bad is going to happen to them. Even though the setting is in the United States, this could happen anywhere. But that is not the only subject she addresses, she talks about friendship, poverty, education, religion, science, intolerance.
The characters, everyday people, a farmer living with his family on the grounds of his parents, the parents just next door, a normal life for a lot of people living in rural environments. They want to sell their forest to make money and then they discover butterflies that never were in that area and that shouldn't be in that area.
But the author also keeps a close look on the family and their lives, the interaction they have with the local people and the visiting biologists. I like her way of describing her characters, I have come to love many of them in her books.
As the story progresses, so does our understanding that something is tremendously wrong, that something needs to be done but that it is already too late, as a lot of actions come at least thirty years too late.
If this novel has made at least a few of the readers aware that we should change things, not just complain about gas prices going up but looking at what we, the little men and women, can do to improve our environment, it has fulfilled its purpose. I guess those who don't want to understand, those who dislike scientific findings and rather go on like their ancestors, will not like this book anyway.
I have said before that I want to read all of her novels, a few are still missing, they are still on my wishlist and I will make sure to get there soon. I also hope that she is still going to write many more beautiful novels.
From the back cover:
"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 Behaviour' 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.
I have also read other books by Barbara Kingsolver, you can find my reviews here