Flight Behavior

Global Warming has been in the news for years now. It’s a regular topic of conversation among scientists and politicians. Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, Flight Behavior, tackles the subject in terms of everyday folk, specifically through the story of one southern family. As is typical of her books, the plot takes place in Appalachia country in a fictitious place called Feathertown, TN. The book’s main character, Dellarobia Turnbow, is on the brink of a marital affair when she literally walks upon a huge cloud of monarch butterflies. It’s more than just a cloud; it’s a whole mountainside that’s aglow in orange flame-like visuals.

What Dellarobia and others in town soon find out is that the bulk of the world’s monarch butterfly population that usually migrates to Mexico has migrated further north this year to Feathertown, TN, right on Dellarobia’s family’s land. These small fluttering insects create quite a flurry among residents in Feathertown and even attract out-of-towners. The influx of these winged insects tests community members’ personal relationships, sense of safety, faith, and opinions of science. It’s a good story, well-written, but more than just that, it’s an opportunity to notice global warming’s effect on your own life. In the wake of the recent storm Sandy, it might a topic of interest to all of us right now.