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Small Wonder | 2002

In her new essay collection, the beloved author of High Tide in Tucson brings to us out of one of history's darker moments an extended love song to the world we still have. From its opening parable gleaned from recent news about a lost child saved in an astonishing way, the book moves on to consider a world of surprising and hopeful prospects, ranging from an inventive conservation scheme in a remote jungle to the backyard flock of chickens tended by the author's small daughter.

Whether she is contemplating the Grand Canyon, her vegetable garden, motherhood, adolescence, genetic engineering, TV-watching, the history of civil rights, or the future of a nation founded on the best of all human impulses, these essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in those places, too. In the voice Kingsolver's readers have come to rely on—sometimes grave, occasionally hilarious, and ultimately persuasive—Small Wonder is a hopeful examination of the people we seem to be, and what we might yet make of ourselves.

Critics' Praise

“Altogether marvelous. … Observant, imaginative, and both lucid and impassioned.”

“Respect for the intelligence of her audience is apparent everywhere in this outstanding collection.”

Small Wonder glows with Kingsolver's honest literary language of enchantment, and with an eye for details of the living planet that Gerard Manley Hopkins might admire.”

“Soulful and soul searching … a passionate invitation to readers to be part of the crowd that cares about the environment, peace and family …a tantalizing peek into Kingsolver’s world.” 

“Brave … a book of conscience [and] the voice of reason we all need to hear.”

“No matter what issue she takes on, Kingsolver remains a novelist at heart, one [who persuades] by way of story rather than stated opinion. But her opinions are always clear. ... Small Wonder is both a pleasure to read and a powerful manifesto.”