Small Wonder - huge Respect! Feb 5, 2009
This is Barbara Kingsolver at her best, writing about the things she holds most precious - family, the living world, life itself. Her prose is a delight and her breadth of experience is astounding. Though standing firmly on a platform for many of these essays, she never preaches but observes; then politely - and often pithily - she states her conclusions. Her strength lies in her unshakeable belief in the beauty and frailty of the world around us and there is a constant reminder that we must love it and care for it - or lose it. Kingsolver educates whilst she entertains - her extensive knowledge of her subject (biology) is delivered alongside observations on the more reprehensible areas of modern society. Nostalgia is there, but the harking back to wiser times - in rural society at any rate - is never sentimental. She comes across as a level-headed lady, multi-talented and multi-faceted, and with a modesty that belies what I suspect is an extremely headstrong character. I will devour anything that Kingsolver writes, I know she will never let me down, never patronise, never preach; I DO know that she will enlighten, amuse and sometimes even reduce me to tears. In her response to the tragedy of the 9/11 bombings (which triggered this collection of essays) she lays down her recommendations for the healing of society and you can sense the anger there, but she keeps it under control; to be reprimanded by Kingsolver is to feel keenly the gravity of the sin, but one feels just as keenly the abundant love and hope that she has for her fellow man and the planet that is our home.