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Published on Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

I was planning to cheat, but I got butterflies

Be sure to add to your reading list Barbara Kingsolver’s newest novel Flight Behavior  which draws from the author’s experience with Southern Appalachian life and her abiding concern with environmental issues. 

We meet twenty-something Dellarobia, who is trapped in an unhappy marriage, with two small children, scraping out a living from a failing farmland, in a small, unforgiving Appalachian town.  Mistakenly thinking that an extramarital fling will give her respite from the suffocating boredom of her daily life, Dellarobia trudges up the rugged mountains behind their farmland (comically in her blistering 2nd hand red-hot cowgirl boots) to meet her paramour in the hunting blind.  Her plan is upended when she reaches the mountaintop and is gobsmacked by the sight of millions of fiery orange Monarch butterflies, displaced from their normal migration habitats because of deforestation and over-development.

As word spreads through the community, the phenomenon is interpreted by some as a religious miracle, and by those who meant to begin cutting trees on that very land, an evil curse.  When the media pounces on the story and it goes national, Dellarobia’s farm and the mountaintop are beset by students and scientists, who encamp for months studying the potential for extinction of this fascinating insect, and unwittingly give Dellarobia’s life new purpose and direction.

This is a great selection for book discussion groups!

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