It seemed over-lengthy, the characters didn't interest me, and I didn't like any of them, particularly. The whole flavour of the novel seemed bleak and depressing to me. I may be being unfair, as I am writing this in retrospect. Since then, I've heard others rave about it, and wondered what I missed.
Then my wonderful book-lending friend passed Prodigal Summer on to me, and pointed out it was by the same author (my wonderful book-lending friend had been entranced by The Poisonwood Bible).
I didn't find the cover very alluring, and the blurb failed to pull me in; I think the whole previous experience was putting me off. It sat on my bedside table for months, and I always selected another over it. At last, this week, I picked it up, having steeled myself to trudge through it. I was intending to read two pages, just to kick start myself. An hour later, I had to force myself to put it down, already lost to it. I've read it greedily for the past week, and finished it, a little regretful, yesterday - regretful that there wasn't more. The skill and craft of Barbara Kingsolver shone on every page; I was enchanted by the writing and the voices, and cared about every character, even the cranky ones. I adored the way the narrative was woven so that the separate stories intersected at last; there were a couple of surprises along the way, a frankness that I loved, and so much to learn about a far away place and people. It has left me feeling sated in a way a book hasn't for a while. In fact, every time I walk past it, I get a little jolt of pleasure that I can sit and read it when I've finished a few jobs, and then remember that I've already come to the end.
The only thing is, it's knocked my confidence in my writing . I know I can't do that, and I wish I could.