Saturday, September 10, 2016

Barbara Kingsolver's "Prodigal Summer"

I completed my reading of the novel because the location is in south western Virginia, near Roanoke and especially Demascus, VA. The photo of the barns above was taken from a bike trail nearby. We visited the area, it is beautiful; we  bought garden supplies from a farm where some of the author's ideas were being enacted, Seven Springs Farm.

The novel follows the development of three characters, two younger women and the elderly widowed gentleman of the area. They evolve to become interlinked by friendship and family relationship as the story progresses.

The author is very strong on descriptions of nature, seasons progressions, a violent storm or the character of an animal moving through it's range.

I found human characters sometimes seem to come across as cardboard cut-outs to further the underlying environmental message in the book: don't mess with the natural order of the predator/prey relationships, don't use crop and insect poisons and farmers should not rely on the same old, seemingly reliable cash crops, like tobacco, to make a living. Ok, ok, ok. I don't always enjoy "message" novels.

Unrelated to these, I felt the book could use another edit; the reader was left to tie up some loose ends of the plot; certainly intensional by the author.

I will try another novel by Barbara Kingsolver that I already own, then decide whether to read more.

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