Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Audio Book Review: Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

No one I've ever read writes more beautifully than Barbara Kingsolver. Her use of simile and metaphor, and her vivid descriptions are almost like listening to a symphony. However, I didn't enjoy Flight Behavior as much as her other novels.

Flight Behavior is a novel about a situation. Dellarobia is our main character. She finds millions of monarch butterflies on her mountain in Tennessee. She tells the story, as the mountain is discovered by tourists, the rest of her family, scientists, and the press. She ends up helping the scientist, Ovid , with his research. Of course, the cause of these butterflies wintering in Tennessee instead of Mexico is believed to be global warming.

Dellarobia is feeling restless. She was married as a teen because she got pregnant, then lost the baby. Since then she and her husband Cub have had two children. All under the thumb of Cub's parents, who own the sheep farm where Cub and Dellarobia live. Dellarobia, unlike most kids in her town, dreamed of going to college, but those dreams are over.

The sleepy, mostly impoverished little town of  Feathertown and it's lively church congregation, also play a pivotal role in Flight Behavior. To add to the drama, Cub's father needs money so desperately that he wants to log the mountain -- where the monarchs are! Dellarobia tells it all. Her past, her developing relationship with Ovid, her struggle to put food on the table, and her need for more in her life are all vividly and beautifully described, as only Kingsolver can.

The setting is beautiful. Dellarobia is a multidimensional character who seemed like a friend by the end of Flight Behavior. All the other characters, while not fully developed, serve to "finish" Dellarobia's story.

But, as I said, we get a very detailed and beautiful description of a unique situation, but not much else happens. I still really enjoyed Flight Behavior. But if you are looking for a riveting plot, you won't find it here.

I could listen to Kingsolver read to me forever. This is the second book of hers that I've experienced in the author's voice (The Lacuna was the first), and I cannot recommend these audio books enough.

If you haven't read anything by Kingsolver yet, I would recommend The Poisonwood Bible or The Lacuna before you try this one. If you are (or become) a Kingsolver fan, as I am, then you won't want to miss Flight Behavior.

Published by Harper, 2012
Audiobook obtained from the library
448 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I've only read The Lacuna and loved it. But I have so much more Kingsolver to read I guess I can wait on this one. Nice review!

  2. I like Kingsolver but I am a bit apprehensive about this one. Nothing of hers I've read has ever been as good as The Posionwood Bible.
    And I see you're listening to The Winter Palace, I really enjoyed that book.

  3. This sounds like a gorgeous book, but it's a shame the plot wasn't stronger. I think I'll try The Lacuna on audio first, since you recommend that one and my library has it. Thanks for your honest review Annette!


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