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The poisonwood Bible : a novel by Barbara…
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The poisonwood Bible : a novel (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Barbara Kingsolver

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Title:The poisonwood Bible : a novel
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:New York : HarperFlamingo, c1998.
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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

Recently added byprivate library, sbnicar, Ninek, DebbyeC, Madcomlib, Lynxlady, bness2, MonicaEH, christinedux, Jamichuk
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English (418)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  All (421)
Showing 1-5 of 418 (next | show all)
Never did I think I would be able to truly feel part of a book involving a family in Africa. Kingsolver has proved me wrong. A Southern family led by an extremist Baptist preacher becomes missionaries in the Congo, and after the American mission closes, things get tighter and tighter. The family learns quite a bit about itself along the way, until, (to risk sounding cliche) something happens that changes everything for the group. They realize that each of their fates lies in Africa, impossible to escape. ( )
  mlmarks98 | May 13, 2017 |
“We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle.”

Arrogant and inflexible, Nathan Price is a preacher of the fire and brimstone kind. When he accepts a mission post in the Belgium Congo he imposes on his wife and four daughters a life they are not at all prepared for.

Chapters are narrated by Orleanna and her daughters, Rachel, twins Adah and Leah and Ruth May - the baby of the family. As these women tell their stories the deeply held insecurities and regrets they each carry are revealed, along with the influence these have on the family dynamic. The harsh jungle life compels them to reconsider their choices and beliefs, and their worldviews are reshaped by their experiences in the Congo. And when tragedy strikes they’ll finally be ready to take action.

Kingsolver draws her readers into the lush but unforgiving life of rural Congo when the country is on the verge of declaring independence, and the associated upheaval that followed during the reign of President Mobutu.

The first quarter of The Poisonwood Bible I found quite slow, it takes a while to identify each of the narrative voices and initially each narrator is busy simply observing life in Kilanga. The story really picks up when we start to understand what makes the Price women tick and how they begin adapting to Congolese life. Each of the characters if fully realised, and Kingsolver has a lovely turn of phrase that is evocative and powerful. While the epilogue chapters are not written with the same depth as the rest of the story, they provide a glimpse into the post-Congo lives of these woman and we can see the ripple effects of their experiences.

Broad in scope The Poisonwood Bible follows these women across various borders and through the years. It is a cautionary tale against cultural superiority as well as a thought provoking and moving exploration of the kinds of events that define us and our world views, and how the echoes are felt throughout our lives. ( )
  SouthernKiwi | Apr 25, 2017 |
This story about the struggle for independence in the Belgian Congo and in the lives of 5 women in the Price family was extremely well-written. Kingsolver drew me into the story immediately & I loved the diary-like entries from each of the 5. Rachel's malapropisms frequently drew a chuckle from me even when I was disliking her point of view... ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 22, 2017 |
I know people really rate this one high but I could not finish, tried 3 times then lost the book so gave up ( )
  SA_Jane | Feb 18, 2017 |
One of the best books of all time! An absolute 5-star rated, must read book!!!!

It has been a couple years since I've read this book but it stays with me, one of those books that really leaves an impression and I fully intend to read it again. I'm surprised there wasn't more hype surrounding this novel because it really was exceptional. Unfortunately I've read, or at least attempted to read, a couple other books by Barbara Kingsolver and just couldn't get into them but The Poisonwood Bible is one of my all time favorite books! ( )
  JordanAshleyPerkins | Jan 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 418 (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
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Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened.
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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.
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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 13 descriptions

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