Prodigal Summer: A Novel (Paperback)

Prodigal Summer: A Novel By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image
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National Bestseller

“A blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. . . and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature.” — San Francisco Chronicle

In this beautiful novel, Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times bestselling author of Demon Copperhead and The Poisonwood Bible, weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.

Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes the lush countryside, this novel's intriguing protagonists—a reclusive wildlife biologist, a young farmer's wife marooned far from home, and a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors—face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they necessarily share a place. Their discoveries are embedded inside countless intimate lessons of biology, the realities of small farming, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one piece of life on earth.

About the Author


Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in rural Kentucky. She earned degrees in biology from DePauw University and the University of Arizona, and has worked as a freelance writer and author since 1985. At various times she has lived in England, France, and the Canary Islands, and has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America. She spent two decades in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to southwestern Virginia where she currently resides.


Her books, in order of publication, are: The Bean Trees (1988), Homeland (1989), Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike (1989), Animal Dreams (1990), Another America (1992), Pigs in Heaven (1993), High Tide in Tucson (1995), The Poisonwood Bible (1998), Prodigal Summer (2000), Small Wonder (2002), Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands, with photographer Annie Griffiths (2002), Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007), The Lacuna (2009), Flight Behavior (2012), Unsheltered (2018), How To Fly (In 10,000 Easy Lessons) (2020), Demon Copperhead (2022), and coauthored with Lily Kingsolver, Coyote's Wild Home (2023). She served as editor for Best American Short Stories 2001. 


Kingsolver was named one the most important writers of the 20th Century by Writers Digest, and in 2023 won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Demon Copperhead. In 2000 she received the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages and have been adopted into the core curriculum in high schools and colleges throughout the nation. Critical acclaim for her work includes multiple awards from the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association, a James Beard award, two-time Oprah Book Club selection, and the national book award of South Africa, among others. She was awarded Britain's prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) for both Demon Copperhead and The Lacuna, making Kingsolver the first author in the history of the prize to win it twice. In 2011, Kingsolver was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


She has two daughters, Camille (born in 1987) and Lily (1996). She and her husband, Steven Hopp, live on a farm in southern Appalachia where they raise an extensive vegetable garden and Icelandic sheep. 

Praise For…


“A lush, bountiful, opinionated novel of social conscience” — Washington Post Book World

“As illuminating as it is absorbing. . . . Resonates with the author’s overarching wisdom and passion.” — New York Times

“Full of ... tenderness, humour and earthy spirituality.” — Christian Science Monitor

“[Kingsolver’s] sexy, lyrical fifth novel renders our solitary yearnings with a finely trained eye and ear.” — People

“A blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. . . and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature. . . . .Barbara Kingsolver remains a voice readers have come to respect and love, a writer we will keep reading for as long as she continues to grace us with her bounty.” — San Francisco Chronicle

"A triumphant return to the southern Appalachians of her own childhood." — Orlando Sentinel

“A warm, intricately constructed book shot through with an extraordinary amount of insight and information about the wonders of the invisible world.” — Newsweek

"Ms. Kingsolver's writing is generously well-grafted; choice moments ... radiate from nearly every page." — Wall Street Journal

"As lush, rich and abundant as nature itself ... Prodigal Summer is quietly breathtaking, and its vista awe-inspiring." — Buffalo News

“Kingsolver deftly addresses the struggle between mankind and nature . . . . A lush. . . novel of love and loss in Appalachia.” — US Magazine

“Compelling ... Lives that are less simple, and far more passionate, than they appear.” — Glamour Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060959036
ISBN-10: 0060959037
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: October 16th, 2001
Pages: 464
Language: English