Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior

A Novel

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Set in the present day in the rural community of Feathertown, Tennessee, this novel tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a petite, razor-sharp 29-year-old who nurtured worldly ambitions before becoming pregnant and marrying at seventeen. Now, after more than a decade of tending to small children on a failing farm, oppressed by poverty, isolation and her husband's antagonistic family, she has mitigated her boredom by surrendering to an obsessive flirtation with a handsome younger man. In the opening scene, Dellarobia is headed for a secluded mountain cabin to meet this man and initiate what she expects will be a self-destructive affair. But the tryst never happens. Instead, she walks into something on the mountainside she cannot explain or understand: a forested valley filled with a lake of silent red fire that appears to her a miracle. In reality, the forest is ablaze with millions of butterflies. Their usual migratory route has been disrupted, and what looks to be a stunningly beautiful view is really an ominous sign, for the Appalachian winter could prove to be the demise of the species. Her discovery of this phenomenon ignites a media and religious firestorm that changes her life forever. After years lived entirely in the confines of one small house, Dellarobia finds her path suddenly opening out, chapter by chapter, into blunt and confrontational engagement with her family, her church, her town, her continent, and finally the world at large.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780062124265
Characteristics: 436 p. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Flight behavior


From Library Staff

shoshanalibrarian Jan 24, 2013

It was okay, an interesting story and well-written, but I never really connected with the main character, Dellarobia. She had such an inflated view of herself, thinking she was smarter and just plain better than everyone else in town. Which may have been so, but being smarter than the people in a... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 05, 2017

Everything you ever wanted to know about butterflies! .Set in Southern Appalachia, a wife and mother's life is turned upside down when a swath of Monarch butterflies nests in her family's mountain. This has never happened before, and leaves people seeking various explanations from religion and science. The book seems to lose its ooomph after a particular event in the novel.

Oct 14, 2016

Requesting to check out for 1st Tuesday book group for November 22nd

Jul 28, 2016

Everyone lives their everyday lives in family and community until the butterflies arrive, bring scientists and compel the folks to reconcile science, God and nature. I liked the main character who discovers she is out of her element in her home like the butterflies on the Southern hillside.

patcumming Jul 15, 2016

Exquisite language, compelling story. Grabbed me from the first sentence.

Jan 02, 2016

It has been awhile since I read a Kingsolver. Very interesting book discussing personal growth as well as climate change and species at risk without being 'preachy' about it all. Characters are interesting, absorbing and easily identified with. A compelling read, as well as providing some general information.

Aug 15, 2015

Barbara Kingsolver can do no wrong. Her books are consistently great and her characters consistently compelling. Each time I read one of her novels I feel that my world is opened and my life is altered. Flight Behavior is an excellent example of her capacity to write about themes/issues that are dark, frightening, disturbing (and important!), but always leave the reader with a sense of hope.

Jun 27, 2015

This is not a book for those who prefer their fiction to be heavy on plot and action, but it’s likely to be a treat for readers who enjoy beautiful language, rich characterization, and pitch-perfect observations about everything from marriage and parenthood to social class and battles related to climate change.

Jun 09, 2015

I liked this book - didn't love it. If written by another author it would have been great, but for Ms Kingsolver it was only 'good'. The arrival of the butterflies heralds a change - for individuals, the community, scientists, the environment . . .
Alas, the characters seem too predictable and the story struggled.

Jun 01, 2015

I was disappointed with this one. It is beautifully written and undoubtedly a clever take on the themes of environmentalism and global warming but the woman was a very self-centred character and the preaching and barrow-pushing were intrusive. Poisonwood Bible it was not.

May 13, 2015

Dellarobia is a woman in crisis. Living in the deep south, and from a poor family, she missed out on the education she hoped for when she got pregnant at 17. Life limps on for her, as the wife of a sheep farmer and daughter-in-law of the farm’s owners. Dellarobia feels she is living on a dead-end street.

Everything changes for her when she has a vision, discovering a fire of insects on the mountain behind her farmhouse. Migrating monarchs have turned up inexplicably, displaced from their eons-old wintering spot in Mexico.

The butterflies bring a world-renown lepidopterist, a new fascination with science, and a job to her door. As she discovers what all this means for her and her family, Dellarobia wakes up to a world of opportunities.

While Dellarobia discovers herself, we, the readers, discover some unhappy truths about the state of the world and our position in it.

What lesson can we take from this novel? Plant milkweed!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCCLD

To Top