Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can't keep it to myself: Flight Behavior

In this time of thinking about what we're thankful for, a good book is always near the top of my list.  This most recent title from Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior, is absolutely a title I'm thankful for right now, and I had to share.  I am, admittedly, a huge fan of Kingsolver's work, and have mentioned my favorite, Prodigal Summer, on the blog more than once.  Her turns of phrase are so precise and evocative, they stay with me and give me such gorgeous, clear images of her characters and settings.  In truth, I fight with myself when reading her books, alternately wanting to gobble the story as fast as I can read, and wanting to linger and savor the nuances.  Perhaps that's why I so often re-read her work, and discover something new every time.  Flight Behavior?  It is everything I had hoped for, and more.

I should start by saying that I listened to this novel, and I am so glad that I did.  Some authors read their work perfectly, with excellent inflection and a voice you could cheerfully listen to for hours.  Kingsolver is absolutely one of these, and did the reading for Flight Behavior.  I'm not the swooning type, but this discovery made me downright giddy. 

Dellarobia Turnbow never intended the life she tries to make peace with.  A shotgun wedding at seventeen to a boy who, it seems, will never mature, is followed by losing that baby and trying for five years to have another.  Living in the shadow of her in-laws, missing her own recently-deceased mother, and feeling as though she's missing something vital in her life, Dellarobia becomes obsessed with a younger man who is not her husband, as though this tryst will fill the hole in her life.  On her walk through the woods to meet him, though, she finds the forest ablaze with silent fiery light, and during this pause, decides to turn back for home.

One moment, unexplainable by Dellarobia, changes her life and her attitude--for her, it is a cautionary miracle, a silent blaze of warning.  When the phenomenon is discovered by others, however, the media, scientists, and religious leaders who swarm in on the small Appalachian town all have their own interpretations and opinions.  From levels personal to global, this strikes chords both in the book and in the reader.  I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough.

A Happy Thanksgiving to my readers, and I will be back next week with a list of what else I've been reading this month.  Happy reading!

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