Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver

Second paragraph of third chapter:

They wanted to gather prickly-pear fruits for jelly. They knew a storm was coming and they went anyway, while he was in his workroom. He follows the narrow animal path between thickets of thorn scrub along the bank, shining his light along the edge of the rising water. Acacias lean into the river with their branches waving wildly in the current, like mothers reaching in for lost babies. The girls ignore his cautions because they are willful children who believe nothing can harm them. Hallie is bad but Cosima is worse, pretty and stubborn as a wild horse but without an animal's instincts for self-preservations-sand she's the older. She should have some sense.

I've generally enjoyed Kingsolver's work, and enjoyed this too: her second novel (after The Bean Trees), a story of Arizona and Nicaragua in the mid-1980s, where the main viewpoint character returns home to care for her fading father, the town doctor, and rekindles a youthful romance while also uncovering layer after layer of her own history and her family's history; at the same time her sister is in deadly danger in Central America and their home town is threatened by environmental disaster. This is the most overtly political of Kingsolver's novels that I have read, and I didn't feel that the politics merged quite as smoothly with the action; at the same time it's a vivid framing for what is going on for the protagonist and her father (who also gets some tight-third narrative). Generally good stuff, and you can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired last year, also my top unread book by a woman and my top unread non-genre fiction book. Next on all three of those piles is The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake.

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