Fresh look: old book

Continuing this occasional feature…

Barbara Kingsolver achieved her greatest fame with the book
I honestly like the least of her entire list—The Poisonwood Bible, nominated for a Pulitzer and multiple other awards. But before she wrote this serious tome, Kingsolver penned several shorter books that caught my imagination:

Taylor Greer grew up poor in Kentucky, with the dual goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting out. On her drive west to seek her fortune, she is unexpectedly “gifted” with a three-year-old American Indian girl, who is dumped in her car in obvious need of mothering and more. So Taylor’s plans change abruptly, and she puts down roots and begins to build a community to help her care for her new foster daughter, Turtle. This is the story of The Bean Trees; in the sequel, Pigs in Heaven, Turtle witnesses an event that has repercussions for her life with Taylor, exposing her to her heritage and her past. These two books are a wonderful combination of charming and heartfelt, with lots of humor but also with a serious message about the family you inherit and the family you choose.

beantrees      pigsheaven

The third book Kingsolver wrote right around the same time period is Animal Dreams, a love story, an environmental inquiry, and an exploration of Native American culture. I was captivated by all three of these books and have revisited them several times. If you are looking for short but intense fiction with an American southwest setting and eccentric characters, try any or all of these three by Kingsolver.

andreams

I featured the original covers here, because they are the ones with which I am familiar (and also, I really like them), but all three of these books have been re-released in trade paperback and are easily obtainable, if in a more bland, less culturally celebratory package.

 

2 Comments on “Fresh look: old book

  1. I love those three books, and have re-read them countless times. I love Poisonwood too, starkly different as it is from her earlier work. Prodigal Summer is one of my all-time Top 10 reads, and Flight Patterns also fits with her family/human connection-plus-ecology theme. Sadly, I haven’t been able to get into her other books.

    I’m sad that they’ve changed the covers. I love those covers!

    Like

    • I loved Prodigal Summer as well.

      Those old covers were SO good, I’m sad too. For once, someone actually planned the covers to go with the stories! I don’t know why they would change them, they aren’t even dated looking. Some complex negotiation among publishers, no doubt.

      Like

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