I am a huge fan of Kingsolver’s. When I read The Bean Trees, I had to stop periodically to read some sentences out loud because they were so wonderful. I was disappointed in The Lacuna – an overreach, I though. And Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, though inspiring, was a bit of a slog at times. Still, she remained on my hardback list, and I am pleased to say that with Flight Behavior, she’s back!
One of the remarkable parts about The Bean Trees is its opening, and Kingsolver outdoes herself here. She plays out the opening moments for a stunning 16 pages; I don’t think I took a breath until I got to the first white space. And upon reflection, the opening does an amazing job of setting the frame for the entire novel.
In Animal Dreams, Kingsolver’s balanced approach to a controversial adoption serves her well. Her balancing act is less successful here. Perhaps it’s the topic and what seems like excessive exposition. But there is some nice tension around those who can afford (literally) to concern themselves with global warming, and those who are just trying to make it through the day.
For me, the intimate moments succeed best here – the insights into marriage, parenting, family, and life that hasn’t turned out the way it was planned. And, as with The Bean Trees, Kingsolver’s sentences are a joy to encounter.