Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Click to find at a library near you!

Click to find at a library near you!

Nonfiction titles about ecology abound, but books that blend fictional characters with ecological truths are rare. Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer (2000) is one such rarity.

Three stories sprout, flourish and eventually intertwine during the course of an Appalachian summer. Deanna Wolfe is the sole protector of a national forest who revels in the solitude of the woods; Lusa Maluf Landowski is an educated city-girl who marries into a farming family and struggles for acceptance; and the story’s third plot features feuding neighbors Nannie and Garnett–one prefers organic the other chemical control.

Each story blends heartwarming fiction with science. Kingsolver succeeds in fusing her talent as a storyteller, her formal education in biology, and her personal agricultural interests in this wonderful tale. Readers will fall in love with the characters and increase their understanding of predatory patterns, farming, and other topics simultaneously.


12 2009

Gardens in the Dunes by Leslie Marmon Silko

Click to find at a library near you!

Click to find at a library near you!

Leslie Marmon Silko, a well-known Native American author, delivers rich prose and a captivating plot in Gardens in the Dunes (1999). The book is a rare work of fiction that fuses imaginary stories with historical and horticultural facts that will pique the interest of many.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, Indigo and her older sister are the last members of a little-known tribe living in a desert garden oasis. The story follows the young girls as they struggle to survive persecution by American authorities.

Eventually ‘Indian police’ capture the pair and Indigo is sent to an Indian boarding school, while her sister is forced to move to a reservation. As the two displaced sisters try to reunite, the plot thickens. Silko includes a diverse character set and discusses a great number of historical issues, but the gardens in the dunes remain at the heart of the novel.

An intricate fictional storyline and reoccurring themes of botany, horticulture, and respect for the natural world will keep readers turning the pages. For a more thorough summary, see a brief synopsis in Time magazine or a longer review by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The great majority of our reviews will focus on nonfiction. But occasionally we all need a good fictional tale. Finding fiction that incorporates themes of agriculture, ecology, or other related subjects has proven difficult. If you have any suggestions, please share!


11 2009