Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
A Novel

72%

58 Critic Reviews

...Flight Behaviour is an impressive work. It is complex, elliptical and well-observed. Dellarobia and her kin come over as solid but believable individuals...
-Guardian

Synopsis

"Kingsolver is a gifted magician of words."
Time

The extraordinary New York Times bestselling author of The Lacuna (winner of the Orange Prize), The Poisonwood Bible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver returns with a truly stunning and unforgettable work. Flight Behavior is a brilliant and suspenseful novel set in present day Appalachia; a breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial that explores how the complexities we inevitably encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths. Kingsolver's riveting story concerns a young wife and mother on a failing farm in rural Tennessee who experiences something she cannot explain, and how her discovery energizes various competing factions—religious leaders, climate scientists, environmentalists, politicians—trapping her in the center of the conflict and ultimately opening up her world. Flight Behavior is arguably Kingsolver's must thrilling and accessible novel to date, and like so many other of her acclaimed works, represents contemporary American fiction at its finest.

 

About Barbara Kingsolver

See more books from this Author
Barbara Kingsolver is the author of seven works of fiction, including the novels The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction such as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In 2000, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.
 
Published November 6, 2012 by Harper. 610 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon9
Peak Rank on Nov 25 2012
icon8
Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
1
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Flight Behavior
All: 58 | Positive: 41 | Negative: 17

Kirkus

Excellent
on Sep 02 2012

One of Kingsolver’s better efforts at preaching her politics and pulling heartstrings at the same time.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Elinor Lipman on Nov 18 2012

This is fiction rich in empathy, wit and science. Like the butterflies that astonish Feathertown, Kingsolvian gifts are “fierce and wondrous,” “colors moving around like fire.”

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by DOMINIQUE BROWNING on Nov 09 2012

Kingsolver makes it obvious that Dellarobia is also a kind of ecologist, concerned with the way she and the other members of her community adjust — or don’t — to their unusual circumstances.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Robin McKie on Nov 10 2012

Much is also made of the Turnbows' poverty, almost to the point of overkill. Two lengthy scenes are devoted to shopping visits to low-rent supermarkets in which the family's financial tribulations are outlined in unflinching detail.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Robin McKie on Nov 10 2012

...Flight Behaviour is an impressive work. It is complex, elliptical and well-observed. Dellarobia and her kin come over as solid but believable individuals...

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Liz Jensen on Nov 02 2012

Urgent issues demand important art. Flight Behaviour rises – with conscience and majesty – to the occasion of its time.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jul 23 2012

...the dramatic saga becomes a clarion call about climate change, too lucid and vivid for even skeptics to ignore.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Leslie Wright on Dec 02 2012

Flight Behavior is an interesting take on global warming, but it also takes you into the personal lives of a family that has hidden much of their pain and existed in a vacuum of hope that tugs at your heart.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Leslie Wright on Dec 02 2012

If you enjoy finding the beauty in nature, and the overcoming of personal turmoil, you will enjoy Flight Behavior. The description of events is amazing and beyond the scope of expectation.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Blog Critics

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Brian Kimberling on Nov 08 2012

Flight Behavior will be published on Election Day after a presidential campaign in which climate change was noticeably absent. In this and throughout the book, Kingsolver is deft with a pointed hint.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Nov 06 2012

Kingsolver takes us deep inside her smart, appealing protagonist's underprivileged world of free school lunches and soul-sapping secondhand stores.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Diane Scearce on Feb 02 2013

She masterfully describes Dellarobia’s environment in a way that helps readers feel her frustration while dramaticizing the effect of potential climate change.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Nov 06 2012

...nothing the author has ever written lacks for a sheer joy of words. Few writers can match Ms. Kingsolver for her turns of phrase.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on Nov 09 2012

This multi-layered story of a woman finding her way in life, wrapped in a larger theme about the world in which we live, is a page-turning triumph. It is both entertaining and important --- and not to be missed.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by PAMELA MILLER on Nov 03 2012

In more ways than one, then, this is a work of imagination, but it also tells the truth in the way only good fiction can.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Nov 04 2012

...it's the not-subtle condescension of "Flight Behavior" that strips the work of artistic weight...every time this domestic drama gets going, the moralizing quickly works its way back in, especially after Dellarobia joins up with the scientists and becomes a field assistant.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Karen Valby on Nov 02 2012

Dellarobia is a smart, fierce, messy woman, and one can't help rooting for her to find her wings.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Yvonne Zipp on May 17 2012

For those not eager to be hectored at in their free time, not to worry: “Flight Behavior” is not a thinly disguised lecture about the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions...Kingsolver... makes her position clear, but she is telling a story first. "Flight Behavior" is by far the most accessible climate-change novel I've ever read.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Jocelyn McClurg on Nov 13 2012

Flight Behavior no doubt will attract attention...for its unabashedly liberal views on climate change. But this is no polemic. It's just a terrifically entertaining read about a spirited young woman you'll miss the minute you reach the last page.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Dallas News

Above average
Reviewed by Joy Tipping on Nov 16 2012

As much as Flight Behavior is grounded in social commentary, where it really takes flight is in the wonderfully drawn character of Dellarobia and her kin and neighbors.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by Sophia on Mar 06 2013

I liked this book. My curiosity about how everyone would turn out kept me turning the pages. I felt that Kingsolver was particularly good with showing empathy for all her characters.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Roberta Rubenstein on Nov 06 2012

Flight Behavior may not be Kingsolver’s best — I reserve that position for The Poisonwood Bible — but it is an absorbing read, positioned at the cusp of contemporary concerns about environmental change and its impact on the human domain.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

San Francisco Chronicle

Below average
Reviewed by Jane Ciabattari on Nov 12 2012

The pace of the novel bogs down as Kingsolver gives us a lengthy exploration of Dellarobia's thwarted energies...

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Lloyd McMichael on Nov 05 2012

Take care not to rush this read — the more attention you invest in "Flight Behavior," the more fulfillment you'll derive. Kingsolver has constructed a deeply affecting microcosm of a phenomenon that is manifesting in many different tragic ways, in communities and ecosystems all around the globe.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Oregon Live

Above average
on Nov 10 2012

...does this make for a great work of fiction? Well, no...At times, the bones of her thesis stick out from the flesh of her story...

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Denver Post

Above average
Reviewed by Robin Vidimos on Nov 25 2012

Kingsolver, formally educated as a biologist and ecologist, is well-suited to tackle the science central to the novel.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Columbus Dispatch

Below average
Reviewed by Margaret Quamme on Nov 04 2012

...Kingsolver can’t seem to let her characters make their way for themselves...her readers need to be enlightened about science, education, class in the United States and the natural world. Even those sympathetic with Kingsolver’s beliefs might rebel against being bullied into agreeing with them.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Oct 30 2012

“Flight Behavior” is never dull, but the energy leaks out of the story, which sometimes seems allergic to its own drama. And for a heroine reputed to have a wandering eye, Dellarobia has a remarkably low libido. This may be the saintliest novel ever predicated on the persistent temptation of adultery.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Times Dispatch

Above average
Reviewed by CHRIS WIEGARD on Dec 09 2012

Issues in “Flight Behavior” such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution could have been preachy in the hands of another writer. But for Kingsolver, the political and the personal are inseparable.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

BookDragon

Below average
on May 17 2013

As important as environmental awareness, protection, and active restoration are, such sledgehammer reminders of our earth under threat doesn’t necessarily make for effective storytelling.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

More

Above average
Reviewed by Dani Shapiro on May 17 2012

Kingsolver’s magical tale is part family drama, part paean to a magnificent landscape—and an outcry against the all-too-real effects of global warming as they take shape in this marvelous writer’s imagination.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Christian Century

Below average
Reviewed by Trudy Bush on May 06 2013

Kingsolver’s book falls somewhere between environmental lecture and work of fiction. It succeeds best as a treatise on the effects of global warming...But as a story about human interactions within a community, the novel falls short. Message trumps story.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Think Progress

Above average
Reviewed by CLIMATE GUEST CONTRIBUTOR on Apr 15 2013

In Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver proved she is a talented writer, capable of telling important and compelling stories in prose that flows with all the beauty, clarity and snap of a glacial stream. And though she takes her time in Flight Behavior, ultimately she delivers.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

That's What She Read

Below average
Reviewed by Michelle on Nov 20 2012

Flight Behavior is a novel I wanted to love more than I did. The predictability factor was too high for enjoyment. Even worse, the novel felt like one giant harangue against those who do not believe in the environmental impact of global warming or in global warming in general.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Before It's News

Good
on Apr 11 2013

As we read about Dellarobia’s heartbreaking past, her regrets, and her dreams, the global concerns are juxtaposed with a deeply-felt personal story. Kingsolver digs deep into Dellarobia’s soul, as she always does so well in her novels...

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Fyrefly's Book Blog

Good
on Aug 26 2013

Biologists and Barbara Kingsolver fans (and those who are both, like me!) will of course enjoy this book, as will those who like contemporary fiction with a strong sense of place and a healthy dose of science mixed in.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Nomad Reader

Good
on Jul 10 2013

Flight Behavior is a thought-provoking novel concerned with climate change and science. This emphasis is both a strength and a weakness, as I found myself more engaged with the issues than the characters themselves.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Bibliophile By the Sea

Good
Reviewed by (Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea on Nov 24 2012

As with The Poisonwood Bible, a favorite of mine, Flight Behavior focuses on moral dilemmas, has finely drawn and yet colorful characters.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Book'd Out

Good
Reviewed by Shelleyrae Cusbert on Oct 30 2012

Flight Behaviour is a compelling novel that has a thoughtful, important message about environmental stewardship, while not forgetting the value of a well told story.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Bookfoolery and Babble

Excellent
Reviewed by Bookfool on Dec 07 2012

Barbara Kingsolver's writing is . . . it's just . . . I was blown away. It is freaking beautiful. Every single sentence is a work of art.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

http://portlandbookreview.com

Below average
Reviewed by Julie Finley on Aug 14 2013

The dialogue at times fails to engage the reader, yet there are descriptive moments of pure Kingsolver magic. The novel ends as dramatically as it begins; hold out in between.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Nature of Things

Good
Reviewed by Dorothy Borders on Jan 07 2013

Kingsolver's ability to take a big issue like global warming and make it personal is one of the things that I find most affecting and irresistible about her fiction.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Tina's Book Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Tina on Dec 12 2012

I hate over the top political slants from either side and every character seemed to represent a point the author was trying to get across, whether the emphasis was about global warming or caring for others, Kingsolver made it adamant to slip in a rant, a taunt or life lesson she could preach to the reader about.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Giraffe Days

Good
on Jul 01 2013

At its heart, this is a stirring, fiery novel of passion and eye-opening wonders, and the truths behind things taken at face value – not just the “miracle” of the butterflies, but the characters too...

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Unabridged Chick

Above average
Reviewed by Audra on Nov 15 2012

I think Kingsolver fans will like this (maybe even love it) and those new to her will get a treat -- although I'd still advise folks to start with The Poisonwood Bible, many other folks are saying this is her best.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

TLC Book Tours

Above average
on Oct 17 2012

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Wordsmithonia

Below average
Reviewed by Ryan on Jun 26 2013

Nothing on the page grabbed onto me. Nothing within the covers of Flight Behavior managed to capture my imagination.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Heaful of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Anne on Jul 04 2013

This is my kind of book. First, Flight Behavior is written by Barbara Kingsolver and that gal CAN write...Secondly, the book is spot on. It tackles a very tricky and touchy subject, climate change. And does so from different points of view.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Dolce Bellezza

Good
Reviewed by Bellezza on Oct 27 2012

you want it. Trust me, this is a book you want for your library. It's the best book written by Kingsolver that I've read.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Three R's Blog

Good
Reviewed by Florinda Pendley Vasquez on Dec 06 2012

There’s a great deal going on here. The author’s background in biology informs the scientific elements of the novel, but those elements aren’t conveyed in a manner that feels inauthentic to the story. Kingsolver’s characters are well-developed and complex...

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Savvy Reader

Good
Reviewed by Paige on Jan 10 2013

I recommend this book for any pre-existing fans of Kingsolver, readers who gravitate towards strong female protagonists, as well as anyone who is interested in the environment and wants to learn more about the devastating effects of climate change.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Suko's Notebook

Good
Reviewed by Suko on Jun 17 2013

I do think we need to think more about the long-term effects of our choices and actions, and care for the earth today. Flight Behavior is a thought-provoking book that I enjoyed very much, one that I'll continue to think about for a long time.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

http://www.ireadabookonce.com

Good
Reviewed by Ryan St. Onge on Jun 14 2013

Make no mistake, Flight Behavior is not a quick moving narrative. Rather, it simmers like a rump roast in a hot country kitchen. And considering the immediacy of many of its environmental themes, Flight Behavior behaves itself by not moving any faster than it should.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

The Neff Review

Good
Reviewed by LaVonne Neff on Jan 22 2013

I enjoyed the story from start to finish. Kingsolver has a great sense of humor. She is gentle with all her characters: even the less lovable ones surprise us with good traits.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

What She Read

Above average
on Nov 27 2012

Flight Behavior delivers many of the elements on which Kingsolver's fans have come to rely: world issues front and center, a richly developed female protagonist, and prose neatly fitted to Kingsolver's setting and themes.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Dreaming in Books

Good
on May 17 2014

I can see why she gets the praise that she does and, while not my favorite read or my quickest read, this book is certainly a worthy one that will give its readers a lot to chew on, even if the execution isn't always smooth.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Conceptual Reception

Excellent
Reviewed by karen marie on Jun 27 2013

This is a book I was sad to finish. Thank goodness there is such a vast Kingsolver catalogue which I can continue to explore.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Wordy Evidence of the Fact

Below average
Reviewed by Sara on Mar 07 2013

Ultimately, I can't recommend this one as highly as her other work, but I do like that last idea so very much, the idea of God as the question we continually are asking.

Read Full Review of Flight Behavior: A Novel

Reader Rating for Flight Behavior
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 3375 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

User Review

Terri McGinty 23 May 2013

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

Ann Caswell

Ann Caswell 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×