Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
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|Fri, 05-11-2007 - 11:19am|
This was my first book by Kingsolver, and I enjoyed it. It centered on three people, and each chapter alternates between the three. There's Deeanna, a wildlife ressearcher living in a cabin in the woods of Appalachia. She studies predators effects on the balance of the ecosystem, and is particularly interested in the return of a family of coyotes. Deeanna believes that the loss of a major predator allows their prey to overpopulate, and she is very protective of the coyotes, who are hated and hunted by local farmers. Then she meets a man and begins an affair, but it turns out he is also tracking the coyotes because they have a bounty on them.
Next is Garnett Walker, a crusty old farmer who lost his wife a few years ago and is attempting to cross breed trees to create a blight resistant chestnut tree. The chestnuts in Appalachia have died out, and he makes their revival his project. He battles with his equally elderly neighbor, Nannie, who has an organic orchard. Garnett is a firm believer in pesticides while Nannie believes they make things worse by throwing off the balance of nature.
Last is Lusa, a moth scientist who marries an Appalachian farmer. She leaves the academic life for farming, and being an outsider in a large, close-knit family comes with many difficulties. Things are further complicated when her husband dies in an accident after only 9 months of marriage. She has to decide whether to live on the farm and deal with meddling in-laws or go back to academia.
This was a lovely book with memorable characters. It focused a lot on the delicate balance of nature, and made me want to go buy energy saving light bulbs.