This is a great book. This book is a hardcover copy.
This is a wonderful book! It is a clear representation of the destruction of a family which probably never should have been created to start with. Very well written and very engaging. I enjoyed the book very much.
Everyone interested in the Congo, or the missionary era in Africa, should read this book. It is one of Kingsolver's most powerful works.
I have never had much interest in African history, but this book made me want to find out more. Her characters, as in her earlier books, are very well realized and fascinating. The story begins with the arrival in the Belgian Congo of Nathan Price, fire and brimstone Baptist preacher, and his reluctant family. The family's story is told by Nathan's wife, Orleanna, and their five daughters - shallow teen-age Rachel, twins Leah and Adah, and five-year-old Ruth May. The voices of the characters are authentic and believable.
I was absolutely spellbound by the way the voices changed and the way they stayed the same from the first to the last of the book. One believes in the characters, they change and grow as the book progresses.
I felt very complete when I finished the book. It was a satisfying experience.
I remember reading a review of this novel in the Washington Post when it was first published in 1998. I have been meaning to read it ever since then and I know I have owned more than one copy of this that seemed to have gotten away from me during one of our moves. Anyway, I'm glad I finally got around to reading this. The novel is set in the Congo starting in about 1960 and tells the story of the Price family from Georgia who go there following the father of clan who is an overzealous Baptist missionary who feels it is his purpose to save everyone he can to the light of Jesus Christ. The novel is narrated by the mother Orelanna and her four daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May. The Congo is not as the family expected and is full of hardship and grief. The people there are mostly starving, the jungle is full of danger including snakes, leopards, and insects that cause diseases such as malaria. There are also driver ants: "We were walking on, surrounded, enclosed, enveloped, being eaten by ants. Every surface was covered and boiling, and the path like black flowing lava in the moonlight...
" The four children react differently to their father's work but when poisonous snakes are planted in their house, they try to convince him to leave. He refuses and a tragedy results which instigates Orelanna and her daughters to leave. The novel goes on to describe what happens to the three daughters in a rather long ending section.
The novel is also an indictment of colonialism and the Belgium exploitation of the Congo and its people. When the country obtains independence in 1960, the people hope for a better life. However, things may have gotten worse. The U.S. helped to install the dictator Joseph Mobutu who bled the country to pay for his mansions and wealth. While he paid Muhammed Ali and George Forman $5 million each to stage a prize fight in what was then Zaire, the people of the country were starving. The plight of the African people in the Congo is very heartrending and things don't seem to have gotten much better to this day.
Overall, this was a very enlightening look at the Congo and the situation there. The population has been exploited ever since the Portuguese first discovered the Congo river in the sixteenth century. The novel discusses these many downsides to European and U.S. involvement in trying to govern this vast wilderness and how the country has been raped for its resources for centuries. A high recommendation for this one although I thought the last part of the novel could have been shortened quite a bit. The story seemed to have an ending when the family leaves the Congo but the novel goes on for over 100 more pages telling what happened to the mother and daughters. I also read another very pertinent book about the Congo several months ago that I would also recommend highly: BLOOD RIVER by Tim Butcher.
My favorite read ever - love the way Barbara Kingsolver writes so that each person has her/his own voice through her words and writing technique.
one of my favorite books. it swept me away and i enjoyed the entire journey!
I liked this book. It took a bit to get into but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I think it's a lot longer than it needs to be but would definitely recommend it.
This is a tale of a blindly driven missionary and his diverse, unwilling family thrust deep into the Congo and subsequently abandoned by what they see as civilization. It is deep, important, well-researched, and the characters strike uncomfortably close to home. I think I liked this book LESS because the wholly realistic characters were so much like people I know.
This is on my top 10 list of all-time best books I've read. I've bought at least five copies in my life specifically to give away. The characters, the plot, the settings are all so haunting that images from the book drift into my mind years later.
It's a story of a young missionary and his family who go to the war-torn Congo thinking that they can change it and end up themselves profoundly and irrevocably changed by the experience. It's hysterically funny and devastatingly tragic and thoroughly fascinating. I can't recommend it enough.
Reading this book was a love/hate relationship. It was riveting and held me in it's trance until the last page was turned.
This story, told from the P.O.V. of a young girl raised in a religious fanatic home is beautifully written. She is uprooted from her "normal" life and taken to Africa. Life changes instantly, maturity comes slowly - and at great price. Grace under life pressure doesn't really sum it up well - maybe gracelessness under insanity. The mood is serious, but you must smile with her through her life.
Enlightening story, great use of language
Written in the voices of each of the primary characters, this novel reaches into your gut and grabs you. Ms. Kingsolver allows each of her wounded women to tell her heart-wrenching story, and that of Africa, without judgement - that's for the reader to render. To be sure, not one of the women, the mother and her daughters, was left unchanged by the experiences in the Congo. A rich tale that both informs and entertains. Ms. Kingsolver spares no detail in describing the horrific conditions that were (and to great extent still are) the norm in the Congo. The novel is part horror story and part love story. I highly recommend this engrossing tale.
Wonderful book...Excellent story that will stay with you long after you finish the book. Kingsolver is truly an artist - she crafts a story with an unparalleled use of language and imagery. A MUST read!
Barbara Kingsolver's best work. A departure from her usual setting, and told from various points of view, it is a great book.
It is an adventure into Africa, and into the minds of a family. Mesmerizing and fulfilling to read.
Characters jump off the page. Descriptions of Africa and the people that inhabit this country portrays the extreme poverty, sadness but the amazing resilience of those who live and love this country. A novel that reads like a journal that you don't want to put down.
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it--from garden seeds to Scripture--is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruciton over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
Excellent book. Took a little bit to get into, but once into it, it is a great story like all her books