click to enlarge image

Also available as Compact Disc and Digital Audiobook

How To Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)


How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons) offers emotionally rich reflections on the practical, the spiritual and the wild. The book’s interwoven sections form a carefully patterned whole, from its “How to” poems balancing wry pragmatism with illuminating wisdom, to its quiet, clear-eyed elegies examining death as a vivid slice of life. From start to finish, the poignant meditations in this generous collection trace the complex ties that bind us to one another, and to an untamed world beyond ourselves. In more intimate terms than ever before, Kingsolver dares the reader into a deeper embrace of all that lies between birth and death. “Begin with a quailing heart,” she writes, “for here you stand on the fault line.”

Dip your toe in the waters of How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons) with this poem from the collection:

How to Be Hopeful

Look, you might as well know,
this device is going to take endless repair:
rubber cement, rubber bands, tapioca,
the square of the hypotenuse,
nineteenth-century novels, sunrise—
any of these could be useful. Also feathers.
The ignition is tricky. Sometimes
you have to stand on an incline
where things look possible. Or a line
you drew yourself. Or the grocery line,
making faces at a toddler, secretly,
over his mother’s shoulder.
You may have to pop the clutch
and run past the evidence. Past everyone
who is praying for you. Passing
all previous records is ok, or passing
strange. Just not passing it up.
Or park it and fly by the seat of your pants.
With nothing in the bank, you will
still want to take the express. Tiptoe
past the dogs of the apocalypse
asleep in the shade of your future.
Pay at the window. You’ll be surprised:
you can pass off hope like a bad check.
You still have time, that’s the thing.
To make it good.

Critics' Praise

“Every few years, you read a book that makes everything else in life seem unimportant. The Lacuna is the first book in a long time that made me swap my bike for public transport, just so I could keep reading.”
“Breathtaking...dazzling...The Lacuna can be enjoyed sheerly for the music of its passages on nature, archaeology, food and friendship; or for its portraits of real and invented people; or for its harmonious choir of voices. But the fuller value of Kingsolver’s novel lies in its call to conscience and connection. She has mined Shepherd’s richly imagined history to create a tableau vivant of epochs and people that time has transformed almost past recognition. Yet it’s a tableau vivant whose story line resonates in the present day... Kingsolver gives voice to truths whose teller could express them only in silence.” 

“Employed by the American imagination, is how one character describes Harrison, a term that could apply equally to Kingsolver as she masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist.” 

“Kingsolver's exploration (through all five senses) of Mexican and American geographies, weather, people, food, cultures, politics, languages and era-bound events—Hoover through World War II, Truman, Nagasaki—is masterful, and a reader receives the great gift of entering not one but several worlds.”

“The novel is a brilliant mix of truth and fiction, history and imagination … [making] for a compelling and utterly believable read.”

“As in The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver perfects the use of multiple points of view ... This is her most ambitious, timely, and powerful novel yet.”

“Before reading [The Lacuna], I would have sworn that 1998's The Poisonwood Bible was her masterpiece, not to be surpassed; it was as close to a truly perfect book as I've ever read. This one's even closer to that lofty goal.”

“Kingsolver's seventh work of fiction is hopeful, political and artistic. The Lacuna fills a lacuna with powerfully imagined social history.”