Monday, May 26, 2008

"Come, all you who are not satisfied/" - Aaron Kramer, Prothalamium

Every time I re-read a Barbara Kingsolver book, it becomes my favorite. I read Prodigal Summer on the plane to Dallas and exited the airport telling K8: "I just read Prodigal Summer. I really could use a man right about now, and also, I'd like to raise a goat on a patch of green somewhere."

The story spins out a web of folks, pairs of lovers in a southern Appalachian town and mountain, of loss, death, nature's intricate balancing acts, and how what we hold to be deeply true often is merely a perspective that would shift if we were looking at it from another's point of view.

One of my favorite passages:

...She could never explain to Eddie how it was, the undercurrent of tragedy that went with farming. And the hallelujahs of it, too: The straight, abundant rows, the corn tassels raised up like children who all knew the answer. The calves born slick and clean into their leggy black-and-white perfection. Life and death always right there in your line of sight. Most people lived so far from it, they thought you could just choose, carnivore or vegetarian, without knowing that the chemicals on grain and cotton killed far more butterflies and bees and bluebirds and whippoorwills than the mortal cost of a steak or a leather jacket. Just clearing the land to grow soybeans and corn had killed about everything on half the world. Every cup of coffee equaled one dead songbird in the jungle somewhere, she'd read.
He was watching her, waiting for whatever was inside to come out, and she did the best she could. "Even if you never touch meat, you're costing something its blood," she said. "Don't patronize me. I know that. Living takes life.
A fierce hiss came from inside the pot, inspiring her to listen for a minute to this turkey's last lament (322-323).


andrew said...

i hate barbara kingsolver. i was happy when my copy of the poisonwood bible got moldy and i had to throw it away.

ok, i don't hate her, but i really didn't mind throwing away her book.


andrew said...

errr...sorry, i didn't mean that last comment to sound quite that acerbic.

i meant no offense to ms kingsolver or ms gretzky.

Gretzky said...

being acerbic doesn't suit you, andrew d. But I'm not offended when people have different tastes. It makes things interesting. also, i will forgive you much because I love the sonics, and you do too.

poisonwood bible was not my favorite, so if this is all you've read, please try something else. I suggest the bean trees or if you're feeling like a non-fiction book, High Tide in Tucson.