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Publisher Description

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 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 African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband's part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters—the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father's intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver's previous work, and extends this beloved writer's vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

Fiction & Literature
October 13
HarperCollins e-books

Customer Reviews

srtco2 ,

The Poisonwood Bible

By far one of the best books I’ve ever read. And one of the only books I again and again over the transom.

Murpmarie ,

Reading Again, Reading Renewed

In 1998 I read The Poisonwood Bible as a wife and mother of young children. I just finished an almost mystical re-read, possibly as a completely different person now: a grandmother and a divorced woman (who recognized, finally, what abuse really is). Rarely will I read a book again as there are too many great books, too little time. I’ve surprised myself with my resolve to reconnect with favorites by going back to Barbara Kingsolver’s books, this is the fourth one and I feel compelled to recommend it as something very special to experience. The emotional and intellectual depth of this beautiful yet terrifying book is astonishing... reading it again on my iPad with the ability to immediately reference the time and place and politics was certainly something that added depth to the experience. I can honestly say this is my favorite book of all I’ve read; please allow me to recommend it to read once again and experience with new eyes.

ami_with_an_i ,

I love this book!

A must read.

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