Flight Behavior: a novel – Barbara Kingsolver

Dellarobia knows about death.  By the time she was a senior in high school, her parents had died, the unborn child who necessitated her marriage had died, and her dreams of going to college and escaping her backwoods community had died.  Now, ten years and two children later, she feels dead, spending her days in boredom and poverty on her in-law’s sheep farm.  Desperate to add a little interest to her life, she decides to take her flirtation with a younger man one step further.  They agree to meet in a cabin on the mountainside behind her house.  But as she reaches an overlook on the open side of the slope, she finds a forest and valley filled with strange color.  Then the clouds shift, the sun alters the landscape and the forest is ablaze with beautiful, silent fire.  Stunned by what she has seen, she goes down the mountain.

Her discovery changes everything.  Everyone has an opinion about what this means, from the people in her family, her community and, thanks to the web, the world.  Most of all, it changes Dellarobia and gives her the chance to be herself, to be alive.

I have been a Kingsolver fan for a long time.  She writes beautiful descriptive prose with deep felt emotion.  The reader is compelled to connect with her characters and the issues they face.  The issues in this book are complex and provide much food for thought.  This book is quite timely in light of the concerns with the monarch butterfly population in Mexico that have been in the news recently.  This is a book not to be missed.

eGalley    Publication date 11.6.12

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