Before she was a successful novelist, Barbara Kingsolver was a scientist. Before fans fell for her beloved debut “The Bean Trees,” about an impoverished Kentucky woman who finds a new life in the Southwest, before “The Poisonwood Bible” and its troubled missionary family earned her a Pulitzer Prize nomination, Kingsolver earned a degree in biology. Her love for and knowledge of the mysteries of nature shape her latest novel in unexpected, wonderful ways.
Set in Appalachia, the terrific “Flight Behavior” examines how the ebb and flow of the natural world plays out against the lives of the people entwined with it. Never one to shy away from controversy, Kingsolver takes on the thorny subject of climate change. You expect her to come down firmly on the side of science, and she does, but her empathy is more wide-ranging than you might imagine.