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.
Kingsolver deftly addresses the struggle between mankind and nature ... A lush ... novel of love and loss in Appalachia.
A warm, intricately constructed book shot through with an extraordinary amount of insight and information about the wonders of the invisible world.
Wall Street Journal
Ms. Kingsolver's writing is generously well-grafted; choice moments ... radiate from nearly every page.
Compelling ... Lives that are less simple, and far more passionate, than they appear.
Christian Science Monitor Prodigal Summer is full of ... tenderness, humour and earthy spirituality ... Kingsolver's dialogue is absolutely natural, often funny, and sometimes heartbreaking.
... a story of the many ways to define family -- human or not ... full of joy, warmth, and sweet surprise.
San Francisco Chronicle
A blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world ... and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature.
New York Times Book Review
[An] extravagantly gifted narrative voice.
Kingsolver is a gifted magician of words.
A triumphant return to the southern Appalachians of her own childhood.
[Kingslover's] sexy, lyrical fifth novel renders our solitary yearnings with a finely trained eye and ear.
As lush, rich and abundant as nature itself ... Prodigal Summer is quietly breathtaking, and its vista awe-inspiring.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Sue Mayor Novel or biology textbook? Overall I enjoyed 'The Prodigal Summer' as a novel with interesting and well-defined characters.
However since the author is a skilled novelist she should stick to wring novels and not spend so much time trying to impress readers with her... Read More
Rated of 5
it is a very good, but it moves too slowly for my taste.
Rated of 5
Today I finished reading Prodigal Summer and I feel like I want to tell Barbara Kingsolver just how much I enjoyed her novel. All 3 stories were so wonderful, the characters so interesting and I spent 3 nights reading very late to find out just... Read More
Rated of 5
I just finished this book and really hated to see it end, I cried at what Jewel wanted to say to her children. I am very moved at how this book made me think of the fragile part all of the inhabiants on earth play in this dance called life.... Read More
Rated of 5
by Carl D. Esbjornson
People and the land. Barbara Kingsolver's great achievement in Prodigal Summer is to render this relationship between the complicated lives of the main characters and the natural world with a kind of unforced seamlessness that avoids... Read More
Rated of 5
Enjoyed reading this book. The characters are very memorable. I keep thinking about them long after finishing the story. I even see people who remind me of the characters.
A humorous and poignant memoir of an educated and cultured woman who came of age in Appalachia. A story of relationships, the challenges and consequences of choice, and the impact of the past on the present.
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