HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Loading...

The Poisonwood Bible (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Barbara Kingsolver

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
22,20544299 (4.2)946
Member:bubbacusack
Title:The Poisonwood Bible
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Harper-flamingo (1998), Edition: Later Printing, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

Recently added bymiddafctext, rena75, Spark2000, FrankieUS, LaineyGal, StellaKts, private library, lgpiper
  1. 223
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (paulkid)
    paulkid: Race relations on different continents, told from multiple female perspectives.
  2. 172
    The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (derelicious)
  3. 142
    Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (Booksloth)
  4. 120
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (jlelliott)
    jlelliott: Each tells the story of Christian missionaries in Africa, one from the perspective of the missionaries, one from the perspective of the local people targeted for "salvation".
  5. 121
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (momofthreewi)
    momofthreewi: Both are rich in character development and centered around unique families.
  6. 122
    The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (kraaivrouw)
  7. 90
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (WSB7)
    WSB7: Both about "colonialisms" abuses in the Congo, among other themes.
  8. 80
    Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (allenmichie)
  9. 92
    Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (allenmichie)
  10. 83
    The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux (whirled)
  11. 72
    The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (GreenVelvet)
  12. 50
    Someone Knows My Name: A Novel by Lawrence Hill (Bcteagirl)
    Bcteagirl: The book has a similar familial tone and is also told from the point of view of young girls growing up in a difficult situation. I had been looking for a book with a similar writing style and was happy to find this one. If you liked The Book of Negroes I recommend The Poisonwood Bible and vice versa.… (more)
  13. 61
    King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild (baobab)
  14. 50
    A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: You could use the theme of colonialism to pair The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver with Passage to India by E. M. Forster.
  15. 40
    Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres (literarysarah)
  16. 73
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (kiwiflowa)
  17. 30
    Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart by Tim Butcher (CatherineRM)
    CatherineRM: I love both these books and they nicely juxtapose each other with their Congo total immersion albeit one fictional and one factual. Tim Butcher traces the Congo River from its source through the dense equatorial land that the protagonist of the Kingsolver book occupied with his suffering family. Both books made a lasting impression on me and I have great time for Africa as I lived in Tanzania - close to Congo geographically for most of the time - and it has a big place in my heart. Read both books and be enriched!… (more)
  18. 20
    State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (sweetbug)
    sweetbug: Similar themes of conflict between two cultures, Westerners living and working in an exotic and dangerous land, and parents / surrogate parents protecting (or not) their children from harm.
  19. 20
    The Plague of Doves: A Novel by Louise Erdrich (charl08)
  20. 20
    The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (ShortStoryLover)
    ShortStoryLover: Although it's much shorter than Poisonwood, The Civilized World also has multiple points of view from female perspectives and the chapters are almost all set in various parts of present-day Africa.

(see all 32 recommendations)

Africa (28)
1990s (73)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 946 mentions

English (437)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  All languages (440)
Showing 1-5 of 437 (next | show all)
Not one of my favourites of this author - I ran out of steam and did not finish it after plodding three quarters way through it. Much preferred A Prodigal Summer ( )
  bluelagoon | Jun 3, 2019 |
A deeply moving, engrossing book. Once I started this book, I could not put it down. The prose is beautiful and rich, and the characters are fascinating. It gives you a lot to think about as well. I would recommend it to anyone. ( )
  queenofthebobs | May 29, 2019 |
Why I Stopped Reading on p. 60: I don't care about anyone in the entire narrative, and Kingsolver's agenda is so transparent I don't need to read to the end to interpret it. The quirks of point of view intrigue me to some extent, but the character voices are forced, and the verbosity has exhausted my patience after ten percent. Rachel's misused words and one-dimensional selfishness, Ruth May's profundity-masquerading-as-five-year-old-innocence, and Adah's backward writing (palindrome is inadequate and the gimmick is exasperating to no purpose) all helped nudge me to my decision to DNF this one. Leah is clearly intended as the most sympathetic sister, but I'm so over the Nonchalantly Gifted Child whose thought processes read like. . . well, like an author of literary fiction.

The clueless idiot missionaries are going to trample the culture they're trying to evangelize. Reverend Price is going to trample his family. The sisters may or may not change or grow up by the end; the problem is, I don't care whether they do or not, because they don't feel like real people to me. They feel like literary experiments in character voice. So I'm done.
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
2.5? I was an early fan of Kingsolver's and up until this book I read everything by her that I came across. I enjoy her writing style and humor, but the heavy-handed political commentary in this book really put me off. I haven't read anything by her since I read Poisonwood, over 10 years ago, and I'm not still not interested in doing so. Maybe I'll do a reread of Bean Trees sometime instead. ( )
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
This is the story of the Price family who went to the Congo in Africa on a mission for the church. Nathan - the father - went against the church's wishes feeling that he needed to reach the people of Africa and bring them the word of God. So in 1959, he and his wife and their 4 young daughters find themselves in a completely different world than where they came from in Georgia. During the tumultuous year in the Congo, Nathan fails to start the church he so desired, but refuses to leave. His refusal leads to his family's undoing. The family lives in extreme povery and in fear for their lives every day. And in the end, they will leave their part of the Congo as a party of 5 - losing one along the way.



This was a powerful story. It is an intense read, told from the points of view of the 4 daughters and the mother. Each girl is so different, that their take away from their time in the Congo is unique to each person. Once tragedy falls on their family, the women all pick different paths in their lives - all claiming that their year in the Congo, and the tragedy, is what lead them to where they ended up. The book covers almost the entire lives of the women - jumping ahead a few years at a time after the initial year they spent together. So you get to see what becomes of them and how events lead to one's life choices.



I encourage you to read this book. I could not believe the poverty and the danger that they faced daily but that they still stayed. It is hard for us who live in extreme comfort to imagine what it would be like to have nothing. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 437 (next | show all)
Kingsolver once wrote that ""The point [of portraying other cultures] is not to emulate other lives, or usurp their wardrobes. The point is to find sense.'' Her effort to make sense of the Congo's tragic struggle for independence is fully realized, richly embroidered, triumphant.
added by Shortride | editNewsweek (Nov 9, 1998)
 
A writer who casts a preacher as a fool and a villain had best not be preachy. Kingsolver manages not to be, in part because she is a gifted magician of words--her sleight-of-phrase easily distracting a reader who might be on the point of rebellion. Her novel is both powerful and quite simple. It is also angrier and more direct than her earlier books.
added by Shortride | editTime, John Skow (Nov 9, 1998)
 
The Congo permeates ''The Poisonwood Bible,'' and yet this is a novel that is just as much about America, a portrait, in absentia, of the nation that sent the Prices to save the souls of a people for whom it felt only contempt, people who already, in the words of a more experienced missionary, ''have a world of God's grace in their lives, along with a dose of hardship that can kill a person entirely.''
 
Although ''The Poisonwood Bible'' takes place in the former Belgian Congo and begins in 1959 and ends in the 1990's, Barbara Kingsolver's powerful new book is actually an old-fashioned 19th-century novel, a Hawthornian tale of sin and redemption and the ''dark necessity'' of history.
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Kingsolverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beard, ElliottDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metz, JulieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, HanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mulder, ArjenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Post, MaaikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, DeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spear, GeoffCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Frances
First words
Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened.
Quotations
I could never work out whether we were to view religion as a life-insurance policy or a life sentence. I can understand a wrathful God who'd just as soon dangle us all from a hook. And I can understand a tender, unprejudiced Jesus. But I could never quite figure the two of them living in the same house.
It is true that I do not speak as well as I can think. But that is true of most people, as nearly as I can tell.
While my husband's intentions crystallized as rock salt, and while I preoccupied myself with private survival, the Congo breathed behind the curtain of forest, preparing to roll over us like a river.
Overpopulation has deforested 3/4 of Africa, yielding drought, famine, and the probable extinction of all animals most beloved by children and zoos.... Africa has a thousand ways of cleaning itself. Driver ants, Ebola virus, AIDS, all these are brooms devised by nature to sweep a small clearing very well.
Back home we have the most glorious garden each and every summer, so it's only natural that my father thought to bring over seeds in his pockets: Kentucky Wonder beans, crookneck and patty-pan squash, Big Boy tomatoes. He planned to make a demonstration garden, from which we'd gather a harvest for our table and also supply food and seeds to the villagers. It was to be our first African miracle: an infinite chain of benevolence rising from these small, crackling seed packets, stretching out from our garden into a circle of other gardens, flowing outward across the Congo like ripples from a rock dropped in a pond.... Father started clearing a pot of ground out of the jungle's edge near our house, and packing off rows.... He beat down a square of tall grass and wild pink flowers ... Then he bent over and began to rip out long handfuls of grass with quick, energetic jerks as though tearing out the hair of the world.... "Leah," he enquired, "why do you think the Lord gave us seeds to grow, instead of having our dinner just spring up out there on the ground like a bunch of field rocks? Because the Lord helps those that help themselves."
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Synopsis for the Dutch version:
"Eind jaren vijftig trekt Nathan Price met zijn vrouw Orleanna en hun vier dochters naar een dorp in Kongo om de bevolking tot het Christendom te bekeren. De onderneming is van begin af aan gedoemd te mislukken. Het gezin is niet ingesteld op de harde, primitieve levensomstandigheden, en Nathans fanatisme en onbegrip voor zijn omgeving roepen gevaarlijke reacties over hen af. Als de kerk zijn handen van Nathan af trekt en de onrust in Kongo toeneemt, vlucht Orleanna met haar dochters door het oerwoud naar de bewoonde wereld. De gifhouten bijbel is een meeslepende familiegeschiedenis en een ontnuchterend verslag van de gruwelen van religieus fundamentalisme in een uitgebuit land tussen kolonialisme en onafhankelijkheid."

The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060786507, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, June 2000: As any reader of The Mosquito Coast knows, men who drag their families to far-off climes in pursuit of an Idea seldom come to any good, while those familiar with At Play in the Fields of the Lord or Kalimantaan understand that the minute a missionary sets foot on the fictional stage, all hell is about to break loose. So when Barbara Kingsolver sends missionary Nathan Price along with his wife and four daughters off to Africa in The Poisonwood Bible, you can be sure that salvation is the one thing they're not likely to find. The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle," says Leah, one of Nathan's daughters. But of course it isn't long before they discover that the tremendous humidity has rendered the mixes unusable, their clothes are unsuitable, and they've arrived in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium. In addition to poisonous snakes, dangerous animals, and the hostility of the villagers to Nathan's fiery take-no-prisoners brand of Christianity, there are also rebels in the jungle and the threat of war in the air. Could things get any worse?

In fact they can and they do. The first part of The Poisonwood Bible revolves around Nathan's intransigent, bullying personality and his effect on both his family and the village they have come to. As political instability grows in the Congo, so does the local witch doctor's animus toward the Prices, and both seem to converge with tragic consequences about halfway through the novel. From that point on, the family is dispersed and the novel follows each member's fortune across a span of more than 30 years.

The Poisonwood Bible is arguably Barbara Kingsolver's most ambitious work, and it reveals both her great strengths and her weaknesses. As Nathan Price's wife and daughters tell their stories in alternating chapters, Kingsolver does a good job of differentiating the voices. But at times they can grate--teenage Rachel's tendency towards precious malapropisms is particularly annoying (students practice their "French congregations"; Nathan's refusal to take his family home is a "tapestry of justice"). More problematic is Kingsolver's tendency to wear her politics on her sleeve; this is particularly evident in the second half of the novel, in which she uses her characters as mouthpieces to explicate the complicated and tragic history of the Belgian Congo.

Despite these weaknesses, Kingsolver's fully realized, three-dimensional characters make The Poisonwood Bible compelling, especially in the first half, when Nathan Price is still at the center of the action. And in her treatment of Africa and the Africans she is at her best, exhibiting the acute perception, moral engagement, and lyrical prose that have made her previous novels so successful. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:57 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in post-colonial Africa. An evangelical minister discovers that everything--from garden seeds to Scripture--is transformed on African soil.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.2)
0.5 9
1 90
1.5 11
2 226
2.5 50
3 781
3.5 200
4 2017
4.5 333
5 2859

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,736,842 books! | Top bar: Always visible