Primo selection for long plane flights; Kingsolver gets off to a slow start; you have to get into it about 50 pages, and then you are hooked. Each character seems normal and eventually is revealed for the bizarre creature he or she actually is. Gradually sensing and "watching" this family crack up in the middle of Africa is hilarious and deep.The character of Nathan is rich--he just can't "get" why the indigenous people do NOT want, or need his religion. Once he realizes this truth, his mind slowly sizzles to a snap , and his family merrily rolls along.
I found this book enjoyable, if not extraordinary. The story of an eccentric Southern minister out to save souls by dragging his wife and daughters to the Congo in the turbulent 1960's.
The multiple perspectives created a complex web of truths that could not have been discerned if the author had chosen to tell the story from one character. While that was a definite positive, I did find some of the character's perspectives to be tiring and struggled to get through their chapters. The political overtones balanced well with the colorful personal struggles of each of the daughters. Overall it was a very good book, but I had to make myself get through the last quarter or so. It would have benefited from being about 100 pages shorter.
This is without a doubt one of the best fictional works I've read in some time. It is done from a unique and multiple narrative perspective. I grabs your heart from the first few chapters till the very last, will hold your attention and thoughts for quite some time.
A book written from 5 points of view? musing on word families in african languages? evaluating ancient cultural customs from a 1960's southern baptist perspective? telling the history of an African (euro-african?) nation from the inside out?
Fantastic!! This book has well-conceived characters with unique differences that anyone with a sibling will appreciate, and its setting in Zaire in the 1960's walks you through the tumultuous events that shaped Africa into what it is today. Read this book if you loved the movie "Blood Diamond." My favorite quote: "No other continent has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign thievery and foreign goodwill."(pg 528)
A perfect read if you enjoy an intense, thought-provoking book.
This book was hard to get into, but well worth the effort. In fact, I found it impossible to put down once I got rolling with it. Although the ending is a bit cliched, the quirkiness of the characters and the situation make it a memorable read.
This is one of Barbara Kingsolver's most captivating novels. A well-meaning but dense missionary believes he can impact the natives of the Congo. The book is about the impact of the Congo on his family. I wanted to shake him several times. A great read.
One of the best fiction books I have read in awhile. If you enjoyed The Story of B or Ishmael you will probably appreciate this book. If you haven't read those but liked this book you should go read them! The ending was a little weak but still well worth the read. I really liked that the book touched on alot of political issues as well as spelling out that the world 'we' know of is not the way it is everywhere.
Absolutly one of the most beautifuly written books I have ever read. An absolute favorite!This one is going to an honored spot on my bookshelf,if I ever get it back from the friends that I have insisted read it.
This was quite the epic...following a missionary family and their trials and tribulations as they experience wild Africa in the 1960's and beyond. It took about 150 pages or so to really start to get into the guts of the book. However, it is rewarding: the story definitely gets better and richer as it progresses. Reading about each of the family's members lives "after" (I don't want to give too much away...) was equally as fascinating if not more.
I can see how this novel might not be for everyone, Kingsolver has a very thorough and descriptive, almost flowery style of writing, some might find that this drags down the story at times, but I felt this added to the rich complexity of the country and the story. I also enjoyed hearing experiences told from different family viewpoints, though I can see how some might find this distracting - I thought this style of narrative helped the reader really delve inside each character.
I love stories where one of the main characters is clueless, and the thrust of the story allows them to figure out who they are. But here, one of the main characters stays clueless, and you love him no more for his ineptitude. A very good read all the same.
I attempted to read this book a couple of times and could not get past the first two chapters! It sounded like someone who was trying to hard in an attempt to depict southern dialect. It bothered me so much that I cringed several times. I found it boring and really hard to follow. Other people told me if I could get past the first few chapters it picks up but I couldn't put myself through it to find out!
Another great story from one of my top favorite authors, The Poisonwood Bible tells the tragic but inspiring story of one family's gradual loss of innocence in the Belgian Congo. The story is unveiled only from the perspectives of the wife and the four daughters (father's story is gleaned from these women) in alternating chapters. Not as brutal as say, The Mosquito Coast, but still quite the page-turner.
The story is told through the eyes of the wife and daughters of an evangelical Baptist minister. They are with a mission in the Belgian Congo in 1959. The book covers 30 years while the family undergoes tragedies during a time of political unrest in the Congo.
It's supposed to be a great book. Frankly, I couldn't get into it.
I loved this book. It's a great story of how our surroundings shape our lives and what can happen to a country's infrastructure when invaded by another. You see it also in the family involved as you follow them through their lives, each character in their own words.
This is one of my favorite books ever. I'm only posting it because someone gave me an extra copy. I love the way the different voices of the different characters develop and how the story comes from all of them. It comments on society, family, religion, world relations and much more all around a fascinating storyline. I don't think I can do it justice in a paragraph review. I'll just stop and say I highly recommend this book.
Story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price,who takes his family and mission to the Congo in 1959. Follows one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
Barbara Kingsolver is addictive, just incase you have never read her books before! She didn't need Oprah to put her on the map for me. This book is about the family of an evangelical Baptist minister who travel to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They believe they have brought what they "need" ,only to discover, as they literally "come apart at the seams", that to survive they will need to recontruct and transform life their lives. This journey takes place over the next thirty years in Africa during the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium. It is a suspenseful, political chronicle during an epic time period in Africa. So well written!
I loved "The Bean Trees" but for some reason had never picked up any of Kingsolvers other novels. "Poisonwood" certainly didn't disappoint. I was so engrossed and invested in the character's lives (especially Adah) that I had to skip to the end and find out where they ended up before I could continue reading - and I was only a quarter of the way through!
Very hard to get into in the beginning but if you stick with it you will become more engaged in the story. Did want to shake the father a couple of times with his way off base ideas of how to bring religion to the natives. Very complex mother daughter relationships, wonderful storyline to bring you right into the world they were living in.
. . . the 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 calamitiously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
A riveting story about an Evangelical Christian missionary, and his doomed attempt to Christianize a Congo village in 1959. The story is told from the point of view of his wife and four daughters, trapped in a foreign land that was sinking into anarchy and civil war.
I got 60 pages in and stopped, I could not connect with the characters, didn't care for the prose style in which it was written and found that I only cared for Adah and even her sections were getting garbled. Perhaps it picks up, but Ididn't want to hang around and hope, I gave up.
I love Barbara Kingsolver and this novel in particular. A story of a man who takes a calling from God and the lives of his family into his own hands and moves them to Africa. Wonderful writing, satisfying story.
I loved this book...learned so much about the politics and history of the Congo. I chose to read this book because of Barbara Kingsolver's other book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral about eatting locally...she is an amazing author and I highly reccomend this book.
Great book! The missionary family in this book learns more than the african natives they were sent to teach. It seems that the natives already have a working society in place and are very tolerant of the missionaries that they must care for. The main characters are all very well defined and interesting.
I read this book in high school. In one sitting. It's not a short book but it ensnared me so throughly that I could hardly tear myself away. At times I felt I could relate to the helpless feeling that the children had. The father's lofty dreams punishing those around him without him intending it to necessarily be that way. I was left sad hoping for him to die in a terrible way. It can be difficult to read at time because of the emotions this book can invoke but I loved every moment of it, even as I cried my eyes out.
One of the best books I've read in a long time, absolutely loved it. I liked how the author switched narrative perspectives to engage you in each character's mind. The characters were so different from each other and so very real because of that. You could almost think to yourself how you knew people just like these girls in "real life."
Oh, I enjoyed this book MUCH more than I thought I would. Africa as a setting does not particularly grab my attention and a missionary family would not typically be the types of characters to intrigue me. Yet, I loved this book. Intricate, detailed and immaculately woven together, it is a delightfully layered novel. I loved how each woman's voice was strong and uniquely her own - I especially enjoyed the "errors" made in Rachel and Ruthie May's chapters, not to mention the palindromes in Adah's sections. The plot, too, was solid and entertaining and though it really could have ended sooner, I was glad that the book kept going throughout their lives as long as it did. I am definitely going to be keeping an eye out for her other books!
I LOVED this book. It was beautifully written and offered a fascinating glimpse into a tragic family saga that eventually sent each member on decidedly individual paths. One of the best books I have read in a while and I read a lot.
The story of a missionary family that moves to Africa. It is told from several points of view - the mother and each of 4 daughters. It is very shocking at times, heartwarming at others. It is an excellent book.
Just got around to reading the book in 2008. The ending analysis of what happened to the sisters seemed too glib and sterotyped. Very thought provoking about the role of religious evangelism in breaking down cultures.
The middle of this book was fantastic but the first and last 150 pages were tough to get through. While the slow opening was important to acclimate the reader to the culture I felt that the book could have ended much sooner and achieved the same effect.
Story told from the point of view the wife and four daughter of fierce Baptist who takes his family to the Congo in 1959. Epic tale is a suspenseful account of one family's tragic undoing over three decades amidst the politics they get swept up in.
The political upheaval in the Congo in the 50's rings true today with Iraq, Chile and other countries where Amer. tries to control resources. A must read for every U.S. citizen. Wonderful read!
This is a great book. It is from the Oprahs book Club.It is about a missionary family in the Belgian congo in 1959.It is about all their trails and tribulations over a thirty year period. Excellant read!
Loved this book. I had it for maybe a year before I was able to open it up and really get into it but after the first day I couldn't put it down. "The story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Babtist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Cango in 1959......" SOOOO GOOD
(Oprah's Book Club and New York Times Bestseller) This beautifully written novel is set during the time of Congo's fight for independence from Belgium. It is told by the wife and four daughters of a fierce, evangelical Baptist missionary who takes them to the Belgium Congo in 1959.
This is a lovely book about a missionary family that moves to Africa and the troubles they face there. The book follows the four daughters, with brief narrative interludes from their mother, as they evolve and grow with the landscape around them.
I enjoyed the descriptions of Africa (having traveled to Africa several times) BUT found it extremely biased in it's description of the missionary family. Are there missionaries like this? Probably. But it is not the normal, as the book alludes to.
An amazing book that will make you think about what you really need in life--the book is told from the viewpoint of five different women, a mother and four daughters, and it is remarkable how each matures and changes over the course of the book.
Barbara Kingsolver didn't win my willingness to read this entire book. I despised the male character so much, I wouldn't finish reading the book. Maybe that makes it an excellent book? The characters are vivid and interesting, that's for sure!
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 suspensful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
This story of Nathan Price, a Baptist missionary to the Belgian Congo in 1959, on the eve of Congolese independence, is a deep, multifaceted narrative. Told in alternating chapters by Nathan's wife and four daughters, it's the compelling story of a wife stretched beyond her limits, of daughters struggling to grow up in an alien environment, and of the Congo's development. Reminiscent of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, it is a story of the insanity that can befall a white man set on bending Africa's landscape and people to his own will. Kingsolver is a great talent, ably using African languages in her prose while developing a story with all the elements of a true classic.
It's a little hard to get into at first, but then the story really takes off and it is very worth the read!! It is funny, sad, and exciting.
From the back cover: This is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptists who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. What follows is a suspensful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. This ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.
So I've finally gotten around to reading and finishing The Poisonwood Bible. This has been on my list for quite a long time, and I'm glad I read it. Told through the stories of the mother and 4 daughters, the first two-thirds of the book detail the struggles of a missionary family in the Congo in the 1960's while the last third reveals just how much the Congo had transformed each of them.
WARNING - Some Spoilers!
How can anyone really hope to return to a "normal" life in America after seeing and living in such poverty - where death was a way of life and you had to struggle for mere survival. Faced with malaria and ravenous ants, the Price girls each bring a unique experience to their tale of the Congo. None of them leave quite as they came, and yet their basic personalities remain the same.
Rachel was the popular platinum-blond teenager back "home" in Georgia. I really liked this character the least, and you get the feeling that Kingsolver didn't like her that much either. She wasn't the brightest bulb, but she knew how to take care of herself, and that's what she focused on during the whole of the book. At times, her chapters were just annoying though, with her malapropisms and complaining.
I particularly enjoyed hearing about life through the eyes of Adah, the mal-formed twin with an uncanny ability to see the symmetry in things. She loved palindromes and poetry, and she had an irreverent wit about her that made her narrative intriguing. With her gift for language, she often mused about the dual meanings of words in the Congolese village of Kikongo, and she saw life and death dancing with each other in a precarious balance.
Leah, Adah's twin, was another character I found I could relate to. During her early days in the jungle, she found herself doing what she could to gain the approval and attention of her father, Nathan. I really couldn't understand the character of Nathan. He was a man driven mad with his goal of changing Africa to his ways. He tried to force the Congo into something it was not, and he could not accept failure. This stubbornness spelled out disaster for his family, especially during the politcal tumult of the Congo's first elections and governmental upheaval. I'm sure that I'll never understand the religious zealot's refusal to bend and compromise, or even leave when it was clearly dangerous to remain. Without taking the time to know those in his village, how could he hope to change their underlying beliefs and superstitions?
I guess I'm surprised by the fact that the women stayed in the same household with him as long as they did, but I cheered for them when they marched out of there. Orleanna, the wife, was probably the most poignant character of the book. Her sections are always distant reflections of what happened, and your heart just breaks listening to her tell the story of her own destruction through her marriage to Nathan and her unbreakable tie to Africa.
This really is a book worth reading. Kingsolver has done her homework on the history and lives of those in the Congo and gives life to the tiny village of Kilanga. I found the two missionaries, Nathan Price and Fyntan Fowles were amazing contrast. While one refused to adapt the Christian message to the Congo, the other took the traditions of the Congo and told the message of Christianity through those traditions. It's not surprising that one succeeded and thrived in Africa while the Congo destroyed the other.
Anyway, enough random ramblings. Read the book. It's good.
This book is marvelous! Kingsolver's ability to tell a coherent story through the eyes (and words) of a father, mother, teenager, child, etc. is..is..is..it still takes my breath away. Be sure to have tissues nearby. The characters will touch your heart.
This is currently one of the best books I've read.
It's set in Africa in the 60s -- a missionary father takes his wife & 4 daughters to the Congo. The story details their lives there & after they leave. It is funny, touching, heartbreaking and gives a great snapshot of region's turmoil, based on real history.
Barbara Kingsolver always has strong themes of family and nature.
The Poisonwood Bible is a story 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 garded seeds to Scripture-is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful spic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling frican nation of its autonomy. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes King-solver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.
Yhis is a story told by the wife and 4 daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgina Congo in 1959. They carry with them everythin they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it-from garden seeds to Scripture-is calamitously transformed on Africn soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of 3 decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the 20th century; the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy.
This book got me back into reading fiction again. Definetely one of my all-time favorites! I was constantly in suspense about what was going to happen next, and was never disappointed. This book is very insightful about racial and political struggles on the African continent. This book made a strong and lasting impression on me, and how I view our culture's impact on the rest of the world.
This novel tells the engrossing story of quirky, feverish Baptist preacher Nathan Price who hauls his family off on a mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. The story's narration is shared by his wife Orleanna and their four daughters, ages 5 - 15, who seem much too tender and naive to survive the trials of harsh conditions, poor housing, language barriers, cultural clashes, and natural antagonists. What results is an absorbing story set against the backdrop of political and religious upheaval.
One of Oprah's Book Club selections, 'The Poisonwood Bible' is Kingsolver at her best with regard to plot and character development. The story is 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.
This 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 bring what they think they need from home, but soon find that it is all calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.