I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, Small Wonder - Essays, and as usual, I am impressed. I have read most of her novels (The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer, The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, and others), and am never disappointed. She writes with such clarity and sensitivity that I find her books difficult to put down once I start reading. Her descriptions of characters and locations in her books are lively, colorful, and intriguing. I can't say I have a favorite - I love all of them that I've read - but Prodigal Summer is dear to my heart because it takes place in southern Appalachia and, as the back of the book describes, is a "hymn to wilderness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself." I also love her novels that take place in the desert. Having visited there, I know how despite its dry barrenness, the southwestern desert holds a special allure for those of us who are romantic dreamers. Her books on the desert capture my heart and provide inspiration.
In Small Wonder - Essays, she tells the true story of a baby in Iran who became lost but was found safe and sound, being fed and cared for by a black bear. She also writes about a young bobcat that came up to her window one day where she was sitting writing in Arizona, and stared into her eyes for several moments before turning away. She writes movingly about our country and its policies and how we are shaping our own destiny by our attitudes. To quote the flap of the book: . . . "these essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in those places too."
Barbara Kingsolver and her family divide their time between a home in Tucson, Arizona, and a farm in southern Appalachia, where, as she describes in Small Wonder, they reside in a log home built of chestnut logs in the late 1930's. Her descriptions of their old tobacco barn and the surrounding countryside remind me of the area around where I live.
Her latest book - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - is based on "you are what you eat." It is the story of her back-to-the-land living with her family in Appalachia. I am ordering a copy today!
The Seasons Change,...
7 years ago