"...Gordon knew humans were in over their teeny little heads when it came to the if’s of a God."

Like plants, the bonds between people can flourish or wither, depending on how carefully they are tended. Rivalrous sisters Nora and Carole finally acknowledge years of mutual hatred and the inability to salvage their relationship. Sometimes one bonds more closely with animals than fellow humans, as neglected young Brady does with an injured goose in his local park. Some people's petty narcissism or materialism is most starkly apparent against the vast background of Mother Nature. For example, coddled and jet-setting misanthrope Rowena has no idea of either the depths of her loneliness or how to take care of her loathsome husband's favorite fig tree after his death. Love of living creatures can also lead to religious awakening late in life, like with Gordon. The newly Christian entomologist leaves behind tongue-in-cheek words of consolation for the mourners at his funeral, comparing friends and enemies alike to his favorite—and least favorite—insects.

Arthur eschews dry, scientific plots for these short stories, favoring lush imagery and metaphor. She presents her characters and the interactions between them as living entities, as vital as the wild flora and fauna she loves. Her writings show that people can forcibly disassociate from nature or quietly accept it and their place in it. The stories imply that an acceptance of the natural world fosters a more ready acceptance of other people. Conversely, rejection of the splendors of nature seems to lead to alienation from those who should matter most. Strikingly, none of the stories promote the theory of evolution as is usual in science-based texts. Meanwhile, in the last story, the existence of God is presented as a real possibility, as is the incapacity of the human intellect to understand divine ways. Environmentally conscious readers who also appreciate vivid fiction will gravitate to this book.

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