Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Dellarobia Turnbow feels trapped in her life. Although her husband Cub is a good man, he lacks imagination and ambition. Dellarobia dearly loves her two young children, but had hoped she would amount to more than just a housewife, living in a home teetering on the brink of foreclosure. Looking for any spark to ignite her soul, she’s prepared to throw everything away for a hastily planned tryst. But an unearthly spectacle of beauty greets her in the Appalachian countryside on the way to her clandestine meeting. This unprecedented phenomenon will change the course of Dellarobia’s life in Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.
At first Delarobia doesn’t understand what she’s seeing; it’s as if the mountains are consumed by fire. For the young mother, the sight is a religious experience—both monumental and stunning, and she knows she can no longer rendezvous with the handsome, young man awaiting her arrival. She eventually learns that her family’s property has become the temporary home for migrating Monarch Butterflies or “King Billies," as her mother-in-law knows them. With the advent of global warming, the Monarchs have broken with their age-old pattern of settling in Mexico and have, instead, moved further north.
Being the first person to discover the “miracle,” Dellarobia has her fifteen minutes of media fame, an experience often far from pleasant. As the word about the butterflies spreads, a group of scientists move onto the property to uncover the why behind this aberrant behavior. When the research leader offers Dellarobia a job on the team, the opportunity ignites her dormant desire to better herself, along with an ardent passion to protect the land.
Kingsolver has long been fighting fiercely to educate her readers to the horrors of global warming and its devastating consequences. In her wildly popular non-fiction title, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, she makes a persuasive case for buying locally and seasonally as a means to combat a rapidly warming environment. With her latest novel, Kingsolver once again alerts the public to a forthcoming climatic Armageddon. In Flight Behavior, she adeptly blends a compelling story of a family struggling to make ends meet with heart-stopping facts that highlight just how out of whack our planet has become.