Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless young mother on the verge of settling for permanent disappointment, having given up other plans when she became pregnant and married in high school. Now twenty-nine, she lives with flattening deprivation and domestic disharmony on a failing sheep farm in eastern Tennessee. Seeking short-term escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man, she hikes up a back road to meet him in the novel’s opening scene, and instead encounters something she can’t understand: a forested valley filled with silent red fire that strikes her as a miracle. It proves to be something far more complex, sparking diverging explanations from scientists, religious leaders, politicians, and the media. For Dellarobia the event drives irrevocable changes as she is forced to confront and lock horns with her family, her church, her community, her continent, and finally, her world.
Kingsolver’s fourteenth book, Flight Behavior (HarperCollins) deepens her exploration of timely themes: the novel’s subject is climate change, along with the media exploitation and political opportunism that lie at the root of what may be our most urgent modern dilemma. In a suspenseful plot that brings together rural farmers and urbane scientists in a bewildering emergency, the novel dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precariously shifting world.