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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Barbara Kingsolver - Flight Behaviour

 review live on show  by Corinna christopher 18th April 2013
If you want a fast action-packed book this one is not for you as it unfolds in a slow and calculated way being, it being completely unlike this author’s best-selling previous novels “The Poisonwood Bible” and “The Lacuna.

The Turnbow family occupy land in the Appalachians, U.S.A..  Dellarobia, husband Cub plus two small children live in one newish house and Cub’s parents Hester and Bear live in the main house.  Red-haired Dellarobia although devoted to the children does not take kindly to marriage and often indulges in mild flirtations .  At the start of the book she is escaping to meet up with a possible new paramour. Their rendezvous is on  a forested area of mountain on their farm.  On entering the wooded area Dellarobia is accosted with a vision of orange flames on all the trees.  She concludes this is some kind of sign and hastily returns home.

The farm has financial problems and Bear wishes to sell the mountain for logging purposes thus solving their problems.  However Dellarobia tells them to visit

the area before making a decision .  This is done and the revelation emerges that the   festooning of trees are Monarch butterflies.  Myriads of butterflies with flame coloured wings scrolled with black lines like liquid eyeliner, expertly applied and all rustling like taffetta.

Dellarobai is soon famous as the lady with a vision and people from all over the country come to visit the sight.  Soon there is a scientist on siite to monitor the creatures.  It is discovered that they have arrived from Mexico where a landslide disrupted their habitat . Hester charges the visitors and a new access road is constructed.  There are even protest groups of campers trying to make sure the butterflies are kept protected.

The expert scientist worries about the coming winter weather.  Their fragile lives could be affected by many things e.g. temperature, food and parasites.  Dellarobia takes a job helping correlate all the facts.

The plot slowly unfolds as we find out what happens.  Will the de-forestation take place and what about the personal relationships on the farm.  Cub cannot understand the impetuous behaviour of his wife.  
His mother is described as sinewy, righteous and unbeatable and the two women are frequently at loggerheads.  The interactions with the children are delightful and very accurate.  There is a best friend Dovey, a charismatic local preacher Bobby Ogle and of course the attractive black scientist Ovid Byron.  All these make for an interesting mix in the storyline.  At the satisfactory end,  I found I knew quite a lot about the world of the Monarch butterfly,  the author had obviously done  much research.  In spite of the strong ecological and ethical themes it was a worthwhile read.

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