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.