Skip to content

Prodigal Summer

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

Save $21.31!
List Price $26.00

6 Available

Book Overview

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... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I like books that extend my knowledge...

I was not into this book. Did not like trying to discern how the characters were connected. However, as I continued to read I finally "got it" and realized this gifted author was weaving the characters toward an interesting intersection. What really sent me off was chasing references to the rebirth of the American Chestnut tree!! What a story! I live in an area where they doubtless once prospered and have learned that a few "stands" of back crossed trees exist nearby. I'm searching for saplings as gifts for my daughter and friends who live in wooded areas.

More than I expected

I got this book because it was a Book Club choice, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and the different "voices" throughout the book.

Are some people nuts?

Occasionally life gives us a chance to see how differently other people view the world than we do. Reading the negative reviews of Prodigal Summer is one of those experiences. I found the book to not only be incredibly moving, but wonderfully informative. Kingsolver doesn't lecture about ecology, but illustrates her points with great deft. A frequent crticism of Kingsolver is how men come across in her novels. Well, I'm a man and all I can say is pretty much all we get in this country is a steady diet of how men see the world. Kudos to Kingsolver for writing exactly what she wants.


If you ever wanted to get a greater appreciation of nature, predators and their prey, and survival of the fittest, then you'll probably really enjoy Kingsolver's latest book. I was totally in awe of her knowledge, most of which I'm sure did not come just through research. The jacket cover mentions that she earned a graduate degree in biology before becoming a full-time author. This is quite evident throughout and it becomes obvious to the reader that this is a labor of love on her part. Let's put it this way -- if ever I was a contestant on the millionaire show and a biology question came up, I'd want Barbara Kingsolver as my "phone a friend."What is a prodigal summer? The author describes it as the "season of extravagant procreation" and, from that point, the story begins. This procreation will be experienced by all different forms of life found within these pages.Kingsolver, who so beautifully told her Poisonwood Bible story through the eyes of the four daughters and their mother, uses this same writing style once again in Prodigal Summer. This time though, the chapters aren't headed with the characters' names but instead are indicated by their particular field of interest.The Predators section describes Deanna Wolfe, working for the forest service and living by herself in an isolated cabin. She has also penned a thesis on coyotes and it's her dream to come across this predator in her small world in the Appalachian Mountains.Moth Love is devoted to Lusa Landowski, a young, beautiful city girl who has studied entomology and is now a bug expert and lover. She also inherits a farm and has to decide whether to stay in Zebulon Valley and commit to that lifestyle or return to Lexington, Kentucky.Old Chestnuts explores the relationship between Garnett Walker, an 80 year old widow, and his love affair with the chestnut tree. During his lifetime, he is trying to recreate this almost extinct tree type within his Zebulon Valley region. Added to this mission is his love/hate relationship with his neighbor, 75 year old Nannie Rawley, and owner of an organic apple orchard.Midway through the book, the connections between these individuals begin to surface as you know they would. Just as subtly, the connections between the underlying characters and their particular love of nature is explored. How to poison things without using poison? How predation is a sacrament? How birds never doubt their place at the center of the universe? How moths speak to each other via scent? How every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot? These are just a fraction of the questions Kingsolver poses -- all the answers lie within these pages.Barbara Kingsolver once again leaves the reader with food for thought. I guarantee that, after reading this book, you will never look at a moth the same way as you did before and probably won't kill another spider. For as she explains, "every choice is a world made new for the chosen." So if you, as the predator, choos

Each page an over-abundant joy

Each page of Kingsolver's new novel, is full of the rich details readers have come to expect. The description of the scenery alone, makes this piece a must read. Kingsolver really does create a painting with words that we can walk thought, smell, touch, even taste. Added to that background, are believable characters; women, who are strong but not hard, men, who are stubborn but not distant. The book explores humans in a way that celebrates both thier souls and their animal essance. It also tackles the most delicate of human emotions, love. Love that is not always conveniet, pretty, or romantic...but without question alluring.

Prodigal Summer Mentions in Our Blog

Prodigal Summer in Earth Day Indoors?
Earth Day Indoors?
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 22, 2020

For many of us Earth Day is a holiday that might involve a hike in our favorite state park or a visit to a nearby beach. But in the time of Covid-19, this may not be possible. If you're feeling housebound and looking for a way to experience nature, here are some great earthy reads for all ages.

Prodigal Summer in Happy 65th Birthday to Barbara Kingsolver
Happy 65th Birthday to Barbara Kingsolver
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 08, 2020

Today is Barbara Kingsolver's 65th birthday. The author's absorbing works of fiction, memoir, nonfiction, and poetry weave together evocative, lyrical prose with themes of social justice and environmental activism. Read on to learn more about her.

Copyright © 2022 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured