Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
A Novel

79%

9 Critic Reviews

A complex web of human and natural struggle and interdependency is analyzed with an invigorating mixture of intelligence and warmth...This deservedly popular writer takes risks that most of her contemporaries wouldn’t touch with the proverbial ten-foot pole. Prodigal Summer is another triumphant vindication of her very distinctive art.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Barbara Kingsolver's fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.

 

About Barbara Kingsolver

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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 October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 644 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Prodigal Summer
All: 9 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

A complex web of human and natural struggle and interdependency is analyzed with an invigorating mixture of intelligence and warmth...This deservedly popular writer takes risks that most of her contemporaries wouldn’t touch with the proverbial ten-foot pole. Prodigal Summer is another triumphant vindication of her very distinctive art.

Read Full Review of Prodigal Summer: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Maya Jaggi on Nov 24 2000

Often funny, and only occasionally teetering into schmaltz with the elderly couple, Prodigal Summer is a rich and compulsive read. Its acute and sensuous observation of the natural world reveals an unexpected beauty, as it traces human love in the flight of a luna moth.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Maya Jaggi on Nov 24 2000

Conviction can tip into righteousness as the fiction rams home a message at the expense of dialogue. Yet the novel is carried by its more tentative truths about human nature, and the subtler revelations of its interior lives, as the characters experience passion, widowhood, menopause, pregnancy, adoption, bereavement.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Richard Marcus on Oct 04 2005

Prodigal Summer is a beautifully written book about people and the world they live in. Barbara Kingsolver has created characters and an environment that we can care for equally, the finest balancing act any novelist can accomplish.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Richard Marcus on Oct 04 2005

This is a book about finding balance. Whether in your own life, or the delicate balance of nature...There are no easy answers, nothing is black and white: the people of the valley aren’t bad and the animals and wildlife aren’t good...Prodigal Summer is a beautifully written book about people and the world they live in.

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Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Dana Schwartz on Jan 19 2011

Several times during my initial reading I felt an odd sensation of being preached to, admonished and yet at the same time educated...The three storylines --- Deanna's search for the elusive coyote, Lusa's for a home, and Garnett's for his beloved chestnuts --- stream together side by side, sometimes skimming each other's boundaries.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzbaum on Oct 27 2000

Sometimes, though, as in Prodigal Summer, an imperfect reader can chafe at the confines of the author’s horizonless heavens on earth. So much forgiveness, and fresh-baked pies...Cue the birds, the bees, the coyote’s wail, and pour yourself a mug of mint tea. But pass me a Scotch, will ya, it’s a little too peaceable a kingdom in here.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Lynn Hamilton on Nov 01 2000

In her hands, the silent war between organic farmers and those that believe in pesticides has the firm grip of a 1950s detective thriller...It is beautifully conceived fiction, with symmetry, suspense and complex characters as subtly crafted as any being written today.

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Fyrefly's Book Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by fyrefly on Oct 03 2008

I said that this is the book that made me love Kingsolver as a writer, but I’d like to do that one better. This is the book that makes me want to be a writer; this is the book I wish I could have written...Every time I read it, I’m left with a renewed sense of wonder in the the power of Life...

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Reader Rating for Prodigal Summer
77%

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Morgan Bliss 8 Oct 2014

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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