Animal Dreams


Animal Dreams is a 1990 novel by Barbara Kingsolver. A woman named Cosima "Codi" Noline returns to her hometown of Grace, Arizona to help her aging father, who is slowly losing his struggle with Alzheimer's disease. She takes a biology teacher position at the local high school and lives with her old high school friend, Emelina. Animal Dreams features Kingsolver's trademark—alternating perspectives throughout the novel. Most chapters are told from the perspective of Codi, while others are told from her father, Homer's, perspective. The book was dedicated to Ben Linder, who was killed by the Contras on April 28, 1987.

The novel features some Hispanic and Native American themes. Codi's sister, Halimeda "Hallie", moves to Nicaragua to teach local people more sustainable farming techniques and dies after being captured by the Contras. Another political theme in the novel is the small town's fight against the Black Mountain Mining Company, which pollutes the river water and nearly destroys the citizens' orchard trees, Grace's primary economic livelihood.

In addition to political themes like these, many of Kingsolver's novels also feature images and themes from biology. Animal Dreams is rich with natural imagery and the study of the created world. And, as with most Kingsolver novels, this one is laced with genial humor.

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