Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

flight-behaviourClimate change affects the entire globe, but its effects are felt locally. It nudges animals from one area to another, it changes local weather patterns, and it takes a toll on the men and women who till and cultivate the soil so that the rest of us may eat.

Barbara Kingsolver understands all of this. Flight Behavior, published last year, is a touching tale of an unusually warm and wet Appalachian winter and its effects on a hardscrabble farm. The unseasonable season is made all the more extraordinary by the arrival of a wayward rabble of migratory butterflies.

An ambitious protagonist trapped with young kids and a dull husband in a small town is thrust suddenly into a harsh spotlight shone by the insects that she discovered. And while struggling with newfound fame, the young mother comes to grips with the changes ravaging the tiny world around her.

Kingsolver is one of modern literature’s greatest practitioners. It’s a delight to see her take on climate change with this thought-provoking yarn. The story is imbued with a scientifically-refined grasp of global warming and loaded with well-placed cynicism of the media’s coverage of this most pressing issue.

John Upton