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Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. About the book. Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. If Rachel Carson (), whose book Silent Spring () inaugurated the current environmental activist. PDF | What are the emotional stakes and cultural afterlife of living with A close reading of a scene from Prodigal Summer is presented as an.

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Barbara K i n g s o lv e r {ANo ve l }Pr o d i g a l Summer —for Steven, Camille, and Lily, and for wildness, whe. Barbara K i n g s o lv e r {A No ve l } Pr o d i g a l Summer —for Steven, Camille, and Lily, and for wildness, whe Prodigal · Prodigal. Prodigal Prodigal Melanie. Prodigal summer: (a novel). byKingsolver, Barbara. aut. Publication date For print-disabled users. Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files.

You needed to know it, though. Cocky, she thought. Or cocked, rather. Like a rifle, ready to go off. What would I need your name for? It was a tactic learned from her father, and the way of mountain people in general—to be quiet when most agitated.

In their dense shade the ground was bare and slick. But for now their buds still slept. But here and now, spring heaved in its randy moment. But he never turned around.

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He must be listening for her step, she thought. At least that, or maybe not. They reached the point where the old bobcat trail went straight up the slope, and she let him go. She waited until he was out of sight, and then turned downhill instead, stepping sideways down the steep slope until her feet found familiar download on one of the Forest Service trails. She maintained miles of these trails, a hundred or more over the course of months, but this one never got overgrown because it ran between her cabin and an overlook she loved.

Today she would bypass that trail. But now, no; of course not now. She would let Eddie Bondo catch up to her somewhere else, if he was looking. The weeping limestone was streaked dark with wet-weather springs, which were bursting out everywhere now from a mountain too long beset with an excess of rains.

She was near the head of the creek, coming into the oldest hemlock grove on the whole of this range. Patches of pale, dry needles, perfectly circular, lay like Christmas-tree skirts beneath the huge conifers.

Then, a crackle. She waited until he emerged at the edge of the dark grove. For a while. She found it harder to read his eyes. She could swear his pupils dilated. She bit her lower lip, having meant to give away nothing. But especially the carnivores. Deer season was many months over and gone.

Keeping tabs on the predators tells you what you need to know about the herbivores, like deer, and the vegetation, the detritovores, the insect populations, small predators like shrews and voles. All of it. She was well accustomed to watching Yankee brains grind their gears, attempting to reconcile a hillbilly accent with signs of a serious education. Beetles, worms. I guess to hunters these woods seem like a zoo, but who feeds the animals and cleans up the cage, do you think?

I apologize. Tough life. All his previous grins had just been warming up for this one. To get yourself hired in this place of business.

It takes a certain kind of person. I did have a bear in my cabin back in February. Long enough to raid my kitchen, though. We had an early false thaw and I think he woke up real hungry.

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Fortunately I was out at the time. What do you live on, nuts and berries? If I was dead, see, they could stop putting my checks in the bank. One of those once-a-month-boyfriend deals. They send up some kid. I lose track and forget when to expect him, so he just leaves the stuff in the cabin. Under the sandpaper grain of a two-day beard he had a jaw she knew the feel of against her skin, just from looking at it.

Thinking about that gave her an unexpected ache. She could hear the birds. After a while she stopped to listen and was surprised when he did, too, instantly, that well attuned to her step behind his. He turned toward her with his head down and stood still, listening as she was. Just a bird. Magnolia warbler. Every single thing you hear in the woods right now is just nothing but that.

Males drumming up business. Years, probably. And now twice, in these two visitations. Blushing, laughing, were those things that occured only between people? Forms of communication?

Not the big bad wolf. Who shot the last wolf out of these parts, Daniel Boone? The gray everybody knows about, the storybook wolf. But there used to be another one here. A little one called the red wolf. They shot all those even before they got rid of the big guys. I never heard of that. Depends on how you call it.

Prodigal Summer: A Novel Characters

She spoke quietly to his back, happy to keep him ahead of her on the trail. He was a surprisingly silent walker, which she appreciated. And surprisingly fast. Coyotes: small golden ghosts of the vanished red wolf, returning.

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She wished for a look at his face. The skill of equivocation seemed to be coming to her now. Talking too much, saying not enough. Not to me. And then they just up and decided to extend their range into southern Appalachia a few years ago. Nobody knows why. She suspected he already knew much of what she was telling him. Which was nothing; she was keeping her real secret to herself. Not most girls you know, but just watch me now. In New York City, even. Somebody got a picture of one running between two taxicabs.

Try, also, to keep her eyes away from the glossy animal movement of his dark hair and the shape of the muscles in the seat of his jeans. But the man was just one long muscle, anywhere you looked on him. They were everywhere suddenly, dancing on sunbeams in the upper story, trembling with the brief, grave duty of their adulthood: to live for a day on sunlight and coitus.

Emerged from their slow, patient lives as carnivorous larvae, they had split down their backs and shed the husks of those predatory leaf-crawling shapes, left them lying in the mud with empty legs askew while their new, winged silhouettes rose up like carnal fairies to the urgent search for mates, egg laying, and eternal life.

Summer pdf prodigal

The trail ended abruptly at the overlook. It never failed to take her breath away: a cliff face where the forest simply opened and the mountain dropped away at your feet, down hundreds of feet of limestone wall that would be a tough scramble even for a squirrel. And had nearly gone right over. So easily her life could have ended right here, without a blink or a witness. To this. She scanned the sky for another one. Usually when they spoke like that, they were mating. Zebulon Valley, after this mountain.

These mountains. And came back. Not all that long ago. At the bottom of things, it was only a long row of little farms squeezed between this mountain range and the next one over, old Clinch Peak with his forests rumpled up darkly along his long, crooked spine.

Between that ridge top and this one, nothing but a wall of thin blue air and a single hawk. Some dairy cattle. Last spring a dairy farmer had found a coyote den over there in the woods above his pasture. She knew how Zebulon men liked to talk, and she knew a coyote family to be a nearly immortal creation. It was the same pack, it had to be. The same family starting over. The surprise was unbelievable, after two years of searching. The others would be her sisters, helping to feed the young.

The less those Zebulon Valley farmers knew about this family, the better. Eddie Bondo clobbered her thoughts. The nylon of his sleeve was touching hers, whispering secrets.

Did he know that the touch of his sleeve was so wildly distracting to her that it might as well have been his naked skin on hers? An older husband facing his own age badly and suddenly critical of a wife past forty, that was nothing she could have helped. That was her doing. And she wondered, what? She glanced at his face.

Her home ground. Touching her as if it were the only possible response to this beauty lying at their feet.

Summer pdf prodigal

Together they took the trail back into the woods with this new thing between them, their clasped hands, alive with nerve endings like some fresh animal born with its own volition, pulling them forward. She felt as if all her senses had been doubled as she watched this other person, and watched what he saw. Their bulbous heads pushed up through the leaf mold, announcing the eroticism of a fecund woods at the height of spring, the beginning of the world.

She moved aside to spare it and saw more like it, dozens of delicately wrinkled oval pouches held erect on stems, all the way up the ridge. She pressed her lips together, inclined to avert her eyes from so many pink scrota. He leaned close to look, barely brushing her forehead with the dark corona of his hair. She could smell the washed-wool scent of his damp hair and the skin above his collar. This dry ache she felt was deeper than hunger—more like thirst.

Her heart beat hard and she wondered, had she offered him a dry place to sleep, was that what he thought? Was that really all she had meant? She was not sure she could bear all the hours of an evening and a night spent close to him in her tiny cabin, wanting, not touching. Could not survive being discarded again as she had been by her husband at the end, with his looking through her in the bedroom for his glasses or his keys, even when she was naked, her body a mere obstruction, like a stranger in a theater blocking his view of the movie.

She was too old, about to make a fool of herself, surely. This Eddie Bondo up close was a boy, ferociously beautiful and not completely out of his twenties. He sat back and looked at her, thinking. Surprised her again with what he said. She had to force herself to speak.

Where, in Canada? Just like this, look here. She felt a sympathetic ache in the ridge of her pubic bone.

How could she want this stranger? How was it reasonable to do anything now but stand up and walk away from him? She closed her eyes against the overwhelming sensations, but that only made them more intense, in the same way closed eyes make dizziness more acute.

At the bottom of the hill they came to rest, his body above hers. He looked down into her eyes as if there were something behind them, deep in the ground, and he pulled brown beech leaves from her hair. Look at you. But she let herself smile when his hands moved to her chest and began to part the layers of clothing that all seemed to open from that one place above her heart. He peeled back her nylon jacket, slipped it off her shoulders down to her bent elbows.

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That wool intoxication made her think once again of thirst, if she could name it something, but a thirst of eons that no one living could keep from reaching to slake, once water was at hand. She worked her elbows free of her jacket and let it drop into the mud, raised her hands to the zipper of his parka, and rolled the nylon back from him like a shed skin.

Helping this new thing emerge, whatever it was going to be. They moved awkwardly the last hundred yards toward her cabin, refusing to come apart, trailing their packs and half their nylon layers. She let go of him then and sat down on the planks at the unsheltered edge of her porch to pull off her boots. She opened her eyes and caught sight of her pistol at the edge of the porch, aiming mutely down the valley with its safety on. The last shed appendage of her fear.

Carefully she took both his hands off of her, raised them above his shoulders, and rolled over him and pinned him like a wrestler. Straddling his thighs this way, looking down on his face, she felt stunned to her core by this human presence so close to her.

He smiled, that odd parenthetic grin she already knew to look for. She bent down to him, tasting the salt skin of his chest with the sensitive tip of her tongue, and then exploring the tight drum of his abdomen. He shuddered at the touch of her warm breath on his skin, giving her to know that she could take and own Eddie Bondo. A breeze shook rain out of new leaves onto their hair, but in their pursuit of eternity they never noticed the chill. He lay looking past her into the darkened woods, apparently untroubled by his own heart.

Thrushes were singing, it was that late.

Prodigal Summer: A Novel

She studied a drop of water that hung from his earlobe, caught in the narrowest possible sliver of a gold ring that penetrated his left ear.

Could he possibly be as beautiful as he seemed to her? Or was he just any man, a bone thrown to her starvation? With his left hand he worked out some of the tangles his handiwork had put into her hair. But he was still looking away; the hand moved by itself, without his attention. She wondered if he worked with animals or something. Do you have a name? Or it is, but he was.

Scent marking. Put his territorial mark on everything I owned, and then walked away. When she went away to college she found herself taken in and mentored by much older men—professors, mainly—until she married one.

Her farm-bred worldliness, her height, her seriousness—something—had caused her to skip a generation ahead. Eddie Bondo knew what he was doing and had the energy to pursue the practice of making perfect. She knew that most men her age and most other animals had done this.

The collision of strangers. But the sight of him now asleep in her bed made her feel both euphoric and deeply unsettled. Her own nakedness startled her, even; she normally slept in several layers. His pack appeared to be a respectable little home: medicine cabinet, pantry, kitchen. He had a lot of food in there, even a small coffeepot. He found a place to prop his small shaving mirror at an angle on of one of the logs in the wall while he scraped the planes of his face one square inch at a time.

She tried not to watch. That was all. She pulled the ladderback chair away from the table, set its tall back against the logs of the opposite wall, and asked him to sit, just to get a little space around her as she stood at the propane stove scrambling powdered eggs and boiling water for the grits. It would be July before mornings broke warm, up here at this elevation. He moved to the window and stood looking out while he ate.

Not only younger but half a head shorter than she. They kindly like to glare at me from the far side of the room. That was amazing. That, she appreciated. It was his youth that made her edgy. She suppressed the urge to ask if his mother knew where he was. The most she allowed herself was the question of his origins. A sheep rancher, son of three generations of sheep ranchers. She did not ask what might bring a Wyoming sheep rancher to the southern Appalachians at this time of year.

She had a bad feeling she knew. So she looked past his lure, through the window to the woods outside and the bright golden Io moth hanging torpid on the window screen. She watched it crawl slowly up the screen on furry yellow legs. A sheep rancher. It was bad enough even here on the tamer side of the Mississippi. It was a dread built into humans via centuries of fairy tales: give man the run of a place, and he will clear it of wolves and bears.

But they were working on that, for all they were worth. A thirty-thirty, it looked like. Where is it now? He was clean-shaven, barechested, and cheerful, ready to eat up powdered eggs and whatever else she offered. It occurred to Deanna that she was in deep. It had drawn hunters from everywhere for the celebrated purpose of killing coyotes. In the eleventh hour of the ninth day of May, for one single indelible instant that would change everything, she was lifted out of her life.

She closed her eyes, turning her face to the open window and breathing deeply. Now she leaned forward in her seat and moved her head a little to see out through the dusty screen. Maybe that plume of honeysuckle was just in his way. Or maybe he was breaking it off to bring back to Lusa. She liked to have a fresh spray in a jar above the kitchen sink.

It seemed unbelievable that his disturbance of the branch could release a burst of scent that would reach her here at the house, but the breeze was gentle and coming from exactly the right direction. She had come to think of Zebulon as another man in her life, larger and steadier than any other companion she had known.

His work on the lower side was nearly done. She has just discovered that coyotes have arrived, but so has Eddie Bondo, a handsome man from the West who hates coyotes because they sometimes kill livestock.

Lusa is an entomologist who taught at the University of Kentucky before marrying Cole and moving to his family's tobacco farm that adjoins the national forest where Deanna works. Cole dies early in the novel and Lusa tries to save the family farm. Finally, Nannie Rawley is a senior citizen who grows organic apples nearby and has conflicts with her more senior neighbor, Garnett Walker, who wants to kill weeds with chemicals to keep his property looking neat.

Garnett's goal is to cross-fertilize chestnut trees to create an American chestnut that is immune to chestnut blight. The ecosystem, a holistic entity, has value over and above, and in most cases more than, the value of its individual components.

This ecocentric perspective is summed up in the maxim: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise" , Ecocentrism explains Leopold's attitude toward hunting. In many passages, such as the October account of hunting ruffed grouse and partridge , Leopold describes the hunt with approval.

However, he disapproves of programs to eradicate keystone predators because their elimination impoverishes ecosystems. His classic account, "Thinking Like a Mountain," concerns wolf eradication. He writes, "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise" But he found that wolf eradication harms mountains, that is, ecosystems.