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Extended Audio Sample Prodigal Summer: A Novel Audiobook, by Barbara Kingsolver Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.02 out of 54.02 out of 54.02 out of 54.02 out of 54.02 out of 5 4.02 (41 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Kingsolver Narrator: Barbara Kingsolver Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2005 ISBN: 9780060894634
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Triumphing once again, Barbara Kingsolver has written a beautiful new novel: a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives in southern Appalachia. At the heart of these intertwined narratives is a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches them from an isolated mountain cabin where she is caught off-guard by Eddie Bondo, a young hunter who comes to invade her most private spaces and her solitary life. Down the mountain, another web of lives unfolds as Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land that has become her own. And a few more miles down the road, a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors tend their respective farms and wrangle about God, pesticides, and the possibilities the future holds.

Over the course of one long summer, these characters find connections to one another, and to the land, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one piece of life on earth.

Read by the author. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[An] extravagantly gifted narrative voice.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Ms. Kingsolver’s writing is generously well-grafted; choice moments...radiate from nearly every page.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • Prodigal Summer is full of...tenderness, humor, and earthy spirituality...Kingsolver’s dialogue is absolutely natural, often funny, and sometimes heartbreaking.” 

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “As illuminating as it is absorbing...Resonates with the author’s overarching wisdom and passion.”

    New York Times

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

    People

  • “Kingsolver is a gifted magician of words.”

    Time

  • “A blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world, attention to detail, 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 warm, intricately constructed book shot through with an extraordinary amount of insight and information about the wonders of the visible world.”

    Newsweek

  • “Readers will be seduced by [Kingsolver’s] effortless prose, her subtle use of Appalachian patois. They’ll also respond to the sympathy with which she reflects the difficult lives of people struggling on the hard edge of poverty while tied intimately to the natural world and engaged an elemental search for dignity and human connection.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[Kingsolver’s] prose is lush and spellbinding, her humor subtle, and her story compelling, intelligent, sexy, and cathartic.”

    Booklist

  • “Compelling…Lives that are less simple, and far more passionate, than they appear.”

    Glamour

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

    Us Weekly

  • “There is no one in contemporary literature quite like Barbara Kingsolver. Her dialogue sparkles with sassy wit and earthy poetry...Kingsolver is one of those authors for whom the terrifying elegance of nature is both aesthetic wonder and source of a fierce and abiding moral vision. She blend[s] her extravagant narrative gift with benevolent concise humor. [Kingsolver] treads the line between the sentimental and the glorious like nobody else in American literature.”

    Amazon.com editorial review

  • “Kingsolver’s lyrical prose and superb storytelling are perfectly matched by her gentle narration with its core strength and emotional fluency...Kingsolver, who grew up in eastern Kentucky, ably shades voices with the nuances of regional speech and also captures the voices of ‘outsiders.’ Her narration skill and compelling story make an unforgettable audio experience.” 

    AudioFile

  • “Kingsolver reads her own words as lyrically as she writes them. Very highly recommended.” 

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 DeAnna | 2/4/2014

    " Wonderful stories woven together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 2/3/2014

    " I loved this book. Just downloaded it to have something new to read on vacation. It was stories within stories, so much information about bugs, coyotes, farming, ecology, biology, psychology, which, if I'd seen it described this way, I'm sure I'd never have chosen. The writing is excellent, beautiful descriptions, rich characters set within an amazing amount of information. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/30/2014

    " I have really enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's books but this is one long polemic on organic farming, back to the land holier than thou living. Not even a good enough story to make up for it. A waste of time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mia | 1/24/2014

    " I very much enjoy Barbara Kingsolver. . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Bohlmann-Becker | 1/23/2014

    " This is the 4th book I've read by Ms. Kingsolver and once again I was not disappointed. A beautiful story of nature,love and how we all relate and need each other. Each character has their own story to tell and yet in the end they are all connected to each other. Looking forward to reading more of Kingsover's work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Miller | 1/23/2014

    " In my mind, one of Kingsolver's best! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue Cebelinski | 1/22/2014

    " Had a hard time wading through this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice Kelley | 1/20/2014

    " I delight any anything Kingsolver writes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jermaine Brubaker | 1/4/2014

    " Kingsolver is awesome as usual her writing entertains educates and makes you think. Great novel about man nature relationships and progeny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 12/25/2013

    " "It's hard for a man to admit he has met his match." Loved the stories intertwined with nature as all of us are! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fran Callahan | 12/23/2013

    " I was into the different story lines...seeing how they touched each other. The end was kind of a let down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Autumn | 12/21/2013

    " My favourite by her, and she wrote some great books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 12/17/2013

    " I enjoyed this book. It has a way of drawing you into the forest and the land that the characters live in. I enjoyed the way the connections between characters came into view. I would give it five stars if it the main theme hadn't been repeated so many times and I hadn't felt preached to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ali | 12/13/2013

    " Enjoyable if you are in the mood for something a bit fluffier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 12/10/2013

    " This book weaves together three stories, all of which show case what it's like living off the land, whether in the forested mountains or struggling on a small farm in Southern Appalachia. Each story is uniquely beautiful, the imagery is amazing, and she writes very lyrically "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 10/16/2013

    " Set in Appalachia, I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia Yackel | 8/15/2013

    " Although I am aKingsolver fan anyway, this is my favorite. Kingsolver ties all the story lines together beautifully and skillfully and illustrates how all life is connected and vital to the universe as a whole. I have re-read this book every spring for at least the last five years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 11/17/2012

    " This is a great read that I looked forward to picking up whenever I had a few minutes to spare. The characters are endearingly human. I enjoyed the unique ecological perspective and Barbara Kingsolver's colorful description of a hot summer in rural Appalachia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saloni Sharma | 8/18/2012

    " Beautiful. The book is so well crafted, each sentence is a pleasure to read. It's the kind of book you read slowly just to savor the perfection of the prose. What a brilliant start to summer reads for the year! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy Mayer | 8/12/2012

    " Just could NOT get into this book. Too much nature talk for me. It's a shame though. Poisonwood Bible is one of my faves. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 6/24/2012

    " I read four Barbara Kingsolver books in a row, this was the first. I had read mostly non-fiction, biography for quite a while but Andy had picked this up at a library book store sale for $1 thinking I might like it... I got lost in the pages and loved it. And immediately went looking for another... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 6/22/2012

    " Wonderful summer read! Surpising twists and turns. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 6/21/2012

    " I absolutely loved this book! Thank you Ginny Shroeder for recommending it! Kingsolver was so very clever in how she interwove all the characters in this story. This belongs on your "to read" list! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 3/4/2012

    " Enjoyable read, but ending was a bit abrupt. Everything of hers I read suffers from a lack of expectations management on my part. I so loved Poisonwood Bible and expect all her books to be that engrossing, an impossible goal. But I always enjoy her stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/13/2011

    " OGSH..I adored this book. LOVED IT. Well written, good plot, great characters, superb in every way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nan | 9/23/2011

    " I like anything Kingsolver writes "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 9/20/2011

    " Love this author! Really enjoyed the connections made to plant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mimy | 6/27/2011

    " Good book! I love how she weaves science into each story.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 6/26/2011

    " I think this might have been my first book by this author. Enjoyed reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 6/24/2011

    " This was engaging from page one. Probably my favorite of hers "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin | 6/23/2011

    " Makes me cry every time I read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 6/19/2011

    " I love Kingsolver and I especially loved this novel. I loved how she uses three different voices to create a seamless novel. The setting is beautiful and the characters are engaging. I think Kingsolver is an incredible writer and storyteller. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beccahartzell | 6/19/2011

    " It's clear that Barbara Kingsolver gave her all to Poisonwood Bible...because I haven't read a book of hers since then that could even hold a candle to Poisonwood Bible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larry | 6/16/2011

    " Absolutely beautiful! Long a fan of Barbara Kingsolver, I savored every page, and rationed every chapter so as not to end this joy too soon. Highly recommended.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin | 6/15/2011

    " This is the first book in a while that I REALLY didn't want to end. I kept waiting for Deanna and Lusa to meet when Deanna came down to Nannie's, and I'm dying for a sequel about Crystal, Lowell, and Deanna's baby. I even want to know what happens with Garnett's trees! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 6/12/2011

    " One of my absolute all time favorites. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 6/12/2011

    " Everyone was really down on this book and I'm not entirely sure why. Yes, it was preachy, but I thought the characters were good and the book was well written. Animal Dreams is still my favorite, but this was enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheila | 6/11/2011

    " One of the best books ever written. Excellent storytelling, layers upon layers of meaning and interconnectedness, intricately woven together piece by piece while teaching about life and living. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorraine | 6/7/2011

    " Environmentalism and Community are the two themes that come to the forefront. Very different than Poisonwood Bible, but equally as appealing. The last chapter blew me away and took me a while to figure out. I liked the challenge of figuring it out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 6/7/2011

    " Kingsolver is king, even though she's a she! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krista | 6/3/2011

    " I can't believe I'd never read this book...apparently it's sort of a classic. And I can see why. I absolutely loved it!! "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver’s twelve books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction include the novels The Bean Trees and The Poisonwood Bible. Translated into nineteen languages, her work has won a devoted worldwide readership and many awards, including the National Humanities Medal.