May Fiction Meetup: Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

Please join us for our May fiction pick, "Flight Behavior." This is from the 2012 list, and in line with our nonfiction pick, might be an interesting read as we start the summer season.

Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman's narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel's inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

I pulled from the Goodreads review linked below, and also linked to the NYTimes review:

Purchase at your local bookstore, or:


Please also visit our page on getting books at local libraries.

We generally get a HUGE number of RSVPs and a low turnout. This is fine, but it would be nice if you could change your RSVP to "no" if you aren't able to attend.

Thank you!

Join or login to comment.

  • Suzanne M

    Great discussion! And thanks to Angharad for literary insights. Looking forward to seeing you all at next meeting.
    p.s. some folks asked about YA. May I recommend The Fault in Our Stars? a great read.

    May 30, 2014

  • Angharad E.

    Yes, hope you feel better Monica. Thanks all for a really great discussion!

    May 30, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    The discussion was fun. Monica -- hope you are feeling better now!

    May 30, 2014

  • Monica S.

    It was great seeing both old and new faces tonight! Thanks much for dealing with my wincing and early departure - hope you enjoyed the discussion and the company! Look forward to seeing you all again soon!

    May 29, 2014

  • Monica S.

    Hey folks. Had a spill on my bike on the way over . Am running a few minutes late.

    May 29, 2014

  • Faith R.

    Hello. I just got a change in my schedule to screw up my thursday. I have to go to an art class at 5 and will try to get to DC in time for the book club. I liked the book (altho not as much as some of her others) and am interested in everyone's thoughts

    May 28, 2014

  • Erin

    Apologies for cancelling--just found out I have to travel. I'm glad though that I read the book and look forward to a future event.

    May 27, 2014

  • Yvonne

    I just joined and can't make this first meeting, though I love Kingsolver! Hope to meet you all in June! Has the next book been chosen yet, love to get a head start.

    May 20, 2014

  • Yvonne

    I just joined and can't make this first meeting, though I love Kingsolver! Hope to meet you all in June!

    May 20, 2014

  • Whitney M.

    Very bummed I have to change my RSVP for this, a work trip was scheduled this week. I enjoyed Flight Behavior immensely.

    May 8, 2014

  • Chessie P.

    Where will the meeting be?

    April 8, 2014

    • Monica S.

      Hi Chessie. It's likely we'll meet at Science Club, but I'm waiting to confirm with them before posting. If we aren't able to use their space, we'll do what we can to ensure a location accessible by public transportation.

      April 8, 2014

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