The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Barbara Kingsolver

List price $13.97

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  • Publisher: FABER & FABER
  • Format: Paperback | 640 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 198mm x 40mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 10 January 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 057120175X
  • ISBN 13: 9780571201754
  • Sales rank: 5,691

Product description

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.

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Author information

Barbara Kingsolver's thirteen books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction include the novels The Bean Trees and the international bestseller The Poisonwood Bible which, amongst other accolades, won the 2005 Penguin/Orange Reading Group Book of the Year award. Her most recent novel is The Lacuna.

Customer reviews

By Louise Marsh 31 Oct 2011 5

Imagine taking a handful of characters from TV's Mad Men and transporting them to the heart of the African jungle.

Consider how out of place they would be.

So too the Price family in Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible.

I very nearly didn't read this book. I didn't think I'd be able to relate to a family of missionaries who move to the Congo.

I wasn't expecting them to be an all-American 1960s family (tyrannical father aside) with a penchant for Betty Crocker cake mix, pink angora twin sets, sweet sixteen parties and ice-cream cones.

To say they are out of their depth in the Congo would be an understatement.

What on earth are they doing there?

Their situation seems comical at times. If only it wasn't so tragic.

If you enjoy books that make you think, you will love The Poisonwood Bible.

Barbara Kingsolver takes the reader on an epic journey to show what can happen when two very different worlds collide.

She packs a lot of food for thought into this book. Just when you think you've got it all covered, she gives you something new to think about.

I could get into a long discussion about The Poisonwood Bible.

But you'll enjoy it more if you discover it for yourself.

You can read more of my book recommendations at www.thereadingexperiment.com

Editorial reviews

The end of colonial rule in Africa is shown in microcosm through the tragicomic collapse of a Baptist missionary family. The mother and all four daughters take turns narrating and their distinctive voices are full of life. (The eldest daughter, a kind of Malaprop Barbie, is a hoot.) Arriving full of certainties in the Belgian Congo in 1959, they're in for a series of rude shocks. Father is a hellfire patriarch come to chastise the heathen natives; other members of the family, though cowed, are questioning and observant. The swell of events soon reaches their jungle outpost; and as the country evicts its exploitive Belgian rulers, the women in the family turn away from Father. The novel is unbalanced, not least in structure, with a lengthy what-bappened-next driven not by plot demands but by the author's need to get across all she has to say about power, politics and hypocrisy on the international as well as the domestic scale. We forgive her because she is right, and because we couldn't bear to leave these characters. A big, ambitious, funny and moving book. Shortlisted for the 1999 Orange Prize. (Kirkus UK)