|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback) and audio-CD|
Prodigal Summer (2000) is the fifth novel by American author Barbara Kingsolver. Heavily emphasizing ecological themes and her trademark interweaving plots, this novel tells three stories of love, loss and connections in rural Virginia.
Prodigal Summer tells the story of a small town in Appalachia during a single, humid summer, when three interweaving stories of love, loss and family unfold against the backdrop of the lush wildness of Kentucky mountains. The narrative follows Deanna, a solitary woman working as a park ranger, Lusa, a widowed farmwife at odds with her late husband's tight-knit family, and Garnett, an old man who dreams of restoring the lineage of the extinct American Chestnut tree.
Kingsolver's extensive education in biology is on display in this book, laden with ecological concepts and biological facts. Her writing also exhibits her knowledge of rural Virginia, where she grew up. In the acknowledgments Kingsolver thanks her Virginia friends and neighbors, as well as Fred Herbard of the American Chestnut Foundation.