An extended metaphor saved by Kingsolver’s brilliant writing, Flight Behavior sets up the wayward migration of Monarch butterflies, drawn off-course by global warming, as an echo of the situation of Dellarobia Turnbow, an Appalachian farmer searching for something less confining than her existence as a mother and wife in a remote mountain hamlet. When Dellarobia discovers millions of butterflies lighting up the mountain behind her house, her life transforms as thoroughly as the movement from caterpillar to…what else…a butterfly.
Dellarobia is as thoroughly engaging as her situation is impossible. Impulsive, entangled, engulfed, she is far too bright and curious to be hemmed in by her husband and his family, but finds salvation in a scientist who visits the mountain (and sets up a lab on her farm). Her 5-year-old son is blossoming as he is exposed to something beyond their small world, and she finds herself opening up to change as well.
Kingsolver writes about the natural world, and science, and farming, and people, and Appalachia, with tremendous power and poetry. It’s a resonant story on many levels, from the scientific to the spiritual, a book full of rain and mud, of hope and despair, of the ties of land and family in opposition to ambition and enlightenment.
“Shakespeare every day for a year: Starting April 23, 2013, I am going to read, listen to or watch Shakespeare, posting and Tweeting daily.”
Find Mel on Twitter at TheDailyBard@365shakespeare.