Prodigal Summer is an intriguing and engaging novel written by famous author Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver has many fans and has appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. The book was released in 2000. The story has many parallel plots, uses nature heavily, and tells of love and loss.
There are three love stories in the novel. There are wild coyotes that roam the rural Virginia area, there is reclusive Deanna Wolfe, and lastly Lusa Maluf Landowski. Each of these stories unfolds and love and loss mingles among the three. This story does not have your typical plot line that your tenth grade English taught you. Add to those three sets of characters a pair of elderly arguing neighbors and one hot summer and you have conflicts and resolutions galore. Kingsolver likes to compare people and their relationships to things found in nature, such as the den of coyotes.
This stress on nature is strength of Kingsolver. Her verbs and rich creative adjectives paint a picture for the reader. The farms, woods, mountains, and coyotes unfold for the reader. The summer is hot and humid and filled with budding plants and flowers. The characters connect with each other and with the various aspects of nature. Much like the coyotes they are on a mission to explore and to grab all the life that they can.
Love and loss fills the book by Barbara Kingsolver. The wild coyotes learn to love and exist in their new area, while wildlife biologist Deanna Wolfe carefully watches them. She too explores the forest and encounters love with a young hunter she accidently meets. Lusa is stuck on a farm and longs to be somewhere else. See how he manages to love and to lose. Lastly the elderly neighbors down the street have an odd climax to their ongoing feud. They manage to argue about everything, but would be lost without each other.
This novel is full of nature, love, and loss. It also reveals unexpected and delightful surprises. The different plots cross and touch each other much like Kingsolver’s coyotes mingle with the humans. The emotions and vivid natural descriptions are an amazing backdrop for this novel by Barbara Kingsolver. The narrative will pull you in with its rich adjectives and strong verbs. Well-crafted sentences, varied vocabulary, expressive dialogue, and characters strong and dynamic make this novel by Barbara Kingsolver a must-read.
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