Flight Behavior and Global Weirding

Last weekend, Graeme had a fever and so I ended up spending most of the weekend curled up on the couch with or near him as he perused Tin Tin books or watched DVDs and as I read Barbara Kingsolver’s newest novel, Flight Behavior.

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I’ve enjoyed Kingsolver’s work ever since I read The Bean Trees for English class in high school and then headed straight for the library to find Pigs in Heaven and Animal Dreams. One college summer afternoon I started reading the first chapter of The Poisonwood Bible and found myself unable to do anything else until I’d finished. Even when Kingsolver gets on my nerves by being a heavy-handed in making a point, political, religious, or philosophical, she can sure turn a phrase and weave a plot.

This new novel has all the charms (if also the usual shortcomings) of Kingsolver’s earlier books; I was a little worried that she would be excessively pushy with the “issue” of this one–climate change–but she kept it pretty real.

Speaking of “real,” climate change is, and it’s so apparent in Malawi that everyone from university professors to brickmakers will tell you about it. Most people in Malawi grow their own staple food–corn that’s pounded and cooked into a doughy paste called nsima–and so when the weather goes weird and the rains are late or too scant, they feel it in their empty bellies: people who have never owned a car, never had electricity, never bought a computer, suffering the worst effects of a climate problem that they didn’t create.

Is this not close to the definition of “unfair”?

I don’t want to give any exciting plot details away, but a similar (yet, of course, very different) injustice forms something of a theme in Flight Behavior. There’s also a lot in there on faith and science. I recommend it!

 

3 thoughts on “Flight Behavior and Global Weirding

  1. “Global weirding” – super phrase, Rachel. And yes, we do tend to see it as unfair to be stuck with the consequences of mistakes others have made. On a theological note, though, what does that say about the ongoing consequences of Genesis 3? Sorry, don’t mean to get off track from your post.

    Back to your points. I’ve never read Kingsolver, but I remember when Poisonwood was a huge hit and almost picked it up. Do you think it’s worthwhile? For her latest, Modern Mrs. Darcy said she found the ending disappointing. True?

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