Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (Hardcover)
April 2009 Indie Next List
“Barbara Kingsolver's account of buying only food raised in her own neighborhood speaks to us all about the urgency of living on, and in, our respective communities.”
— Betsy Goree, The Book Shelf, Tryon, NC
Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
"As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.
"Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . ."
Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that's better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.
"This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."
About the Author
Barbara Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She received the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work, and in 2010 won Britain's Orange Prize for The Lacuna. Before she made her living as a writer, Kingsolver earned degrees in biology and worked as a scientist. She now lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.
Camille Kingsolver graduated from Duke University in 2009 and currently works in the mental health field. She is an active advocate for the local-food movement, doing public speaking for young adults of her own generation navigating food choices in a difficult economy. She lives in Asheville, N.C., and grows a vegetable garden in her front yard.
Steven L. Hopp was trained in life sciences and received his PhD from Indiana University. He has published papers in bioacoustics, ornithology, animal behavior and more recently in sustainable agriculture. He is the founder and director of the Meadowview Farmers Guild, a community development project that includes a local foods restaurant and general store that source their products locally. He teaches at Emory & Henry College in the Environmental Studies department. He coauthored Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with Barbara Kingsolver and Camille Kingsolver.
“Charming, zestful, funny and poetic…a serious book about important problems.”
-Washington Post Book World
“Charming . . . Literary magic . . . If you love the narrative voice of Barbara Kingsolver, you will be thrilled.”
“ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE makes an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change.””
“If you...buy...one book this summer, make it this one...As satisfying and complete as a down home supper.”
“Engaging…Absorbing…Lovely food writing…[Kingsolver] succeeds at adopting the warm tone of a confiding friend.”
-Corby Kummer, New York Times Book Review
“A lovely book. ”
-Los Angeles Times
“[Written] with passion and hope…This novelist paints a compelling big picture-broad and ambitious, with nary an extraneous stroke.”
-Rocky Mountain News
“Homespun, unassuming, informed, positive, inspiring. . . . Unstinting in its concerns about this imperiled planet.”
“A profound, graceful, and literary work . . . Timeless. . . . It can change who you are.”
-Rick Bass, Boston Globe
“Classy and disarming, substantive and entertaining, earnest and funny....Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Kingsolver elegantly chronicles a year of back-to-the-land living…Readers...will take heart and inspiration here.”
“Kingsolver beautifully describes this experience.”
“Kingsolver dresses down the American food complex…These down-on-the-farm sections are inspiring and…compelling.”
“Faithful, funny, and thought-provoking...Readers-whether vegetarian or carnivore-will not go hungry, literally or literarily.”
“Equal parts folk wisdom and political activism . . . This family effort instructs as much as it entertains.”
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Full…of zest and sometimes ribald humor… Reading this book will make you hungry.”
-Raleigh News & Observer
“Lessons learned in sustainability are worth feasting on-and taking to heart.”
“Every bit as transporting as-and more ecologically relevant than-any “Year In Provence”-style escapism...Earthy...informative....[and] englightened.”
“Provocative . . . Kingsolver . . . evokes the sheer joy of producing one’s own food.”
“An impassioned, sensual, smart and witty narrative…Kinsolver is a master at leavening a serious message with humor.”
-St. Petersburg Times
“Wry, insightful and inspiring to anyone who yearns to work with the earth.”
-Chicago Tribune (on the audiobook)
“Kingsolver…adds enough texture and zest to stir wistful yearnings in all of us...[A] vicarious taste of domesticity.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“A terrific effort. The delight for readers…is the chance to experience the rediscovery of community through food.”
-The Oregonian (Portland)
“Kingsolver, who writes evocatively about our connection to place, does so here with characteristic glowing prose. She provides the rapture.”
“If you’re interested in learning more about healthful eating, you’ll want to read…ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE.”
“Loaded with terrific information about everything from growth hormones to farm subsidies.”
“Kingsolver carries us along in her distinct and breezy prose.”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“I defy anyone to read this book and walk away from it without gaining at least the desire to change.”
“Charming...and persuasive...Each season-and chapter-unfolds with a natural rhythm and mouth-watering appeal.”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Anyone who read and appreciated THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA by Michael Pollan will want to read Barbara Kingsolver’s book.”
“[This] is a book that, without being preachy, makes a solid case for eating locally instead of globally.”
-Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe
“Other notable writers have addressed this topic, but Kingsolver claims it as her own....Self-deprecating instead of self-righteous.”
“Delectable . . . steeped in elegant prose and seasoned with smart morsels about the food industry.”
“[Kingsolver is] a master storyteller, and even those who’ve heard this tale before will be captivated.”
“ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE is a chronicle of food feats…I’m inclined to agree with most points Kingsolver makes.”