What thrills me most about Barbara Kingsolver … now at least ... is that I never know what to expect, but I always know it will be an interesting journey. I started reading her sometime after The Bean Trees came out in 1988 and drifted delightedly through Animal Dreams and Pigs in Heaven. I put her in a neat little box of authors I enjoyed.
And then came The Poisonwood Bible and I didn’t know whether to put it on an altar or spit on it. It wasn’t what I signed up for when I bought the name Kingsolver.
However, after finishing it, I found myself thinking about the characters, thinking about the world they lived in and the challenges of living in such a different culture. Particular passages or events haunted me and still make me think about them.
By the time I got through to Prodigal Summer, The Lacuna, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I had stopped thinking about her as a name on a book, but rather as a woman who was thinking and writing about things that interested me. And then came Flight Behavior, a magical book. All I know now is that whatever she writes, I will read and be transported to a different place and informed about the world and all its wonders.
When I went to her website to write this post, I found some thoughts worth sharing:
"What keeps me awake at the wheel is the thrill of trying something completely new with each book. I’m not a risk-taker in life, generally speaking, but as a writer I definitely choose the fast car, the impossible rock face, the free fall.”
— Barbara Kingsolver
"Literature is one of the few kinds of writing in the world that does not tell you what to buy, want, see, be, or believe. It’s more like conversation, raising new questions and moving you to answer them for yourself.”
— Barbara Kingsolver
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.” — from Animal Dreams
Joyce, your experience with Barbara Kingsolver mirrors my own--and I love the quotes you included. Terrific post, as always.ReplyDelete