My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Hallie once pointed out to me that people worry a lot more about the eternity after their deaths than the eternity that happened before they were born. But it’s the same amount of infinity, rolling out in all directions from where we stand.”
That was quite a perspective slap, for me. Why did I never think of it that way?
Actually, I fell in love with this book long before I read that passage. The one that absolutely got me was on page 8, the narrator’s description of herself and her sister as “keenly mismatched Siamese twins conjoined at the back of the mind.” Why can’t I write like that?
What a book. I discovered Barbara Kingsolver when I picked Prodigal Summer for last year’s reading challenge, and when I recently chanced across Animal Dreams in a used bookstore for fifty cents, I snagged it. Did I already say, what a book? A rehash of the plot will not necessarily make you want to read it, so I’ll attempt to intrigue you instead by telling you it’s about memory, what a haven and what a prison it can be, its trustworthiness and its trickery. It’s about home and love and loss and the ties that bind and finding a reason for living that’s a little bigger than ourselves. The setting is lovely, fully realized so it’s almost another character in the book, a fictional town near Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, with the cultural rituals and myths and legends of place. All of those things, laid out in the lushness and poetry of Kingsolver’s prose. How can you not love this book?
Look at this picture! The pueblos, but also the face. That is the Earth Mother right there, those pueblos are her children, living cradled right inside her. I found this picture on TripAdvisor’s website and I hope they don’t get mad at me, because I couldn’t resist sharing that wonderful face.
I am both annoyed and happy that I didn’t discover this author years ago. Annoyed, because I could already have been loving this writing all this time, happy because I have everything else she’s written to savor still. I’m holding off until the next one, to make it last.
Bookshelves: coming-of-age, latino-culture, native-american-lore, native-american-history, save-our-planet, current-social-issues, love-story-not-a-romance, love-the-cover, literary-fiction, this-is-the-stuff-right-here
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