lukas, May 19, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"You can't just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, without expecting the jungle to change you right back." A sprawling, absorbing and ambitious novel about family, God, Africa, politics and imperialism that manages to handle big themes with wit and subtlety. Should've won the Pulitzer.
tanglingpuma, October 31, 2012 (view all comments by tanglingpuma)
A suspenseful epic of an American family's total reconstruction as they live out several decades on an African mission. They believe they have brought everything they could need to build their new lives, but find that their carefully constructed ideas of what to expect are vastly different from the realities of a harsh life on African soil. This book will simultaneously anger you and cause you to marvel at the strength of one man's convictions.
prentisentina, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by prentisentina)
With this book I have discovered a remarkable author, Barbara Kingsolver. She shows deep insight into the minds and lives of the women in the story by speaking from within their individual minds, as well as perceptive understanding of what makes an irrationally radical religious man (without speaking from within his mind, the only shortcoming of the writing, from my view), and succinct comments with great psychological, social, environmental, economic, and political truths that make complete sense in the context of the story. By contrasting the lives, viewpoints, and beliefs of both the poor people of Africa and the almost as poor white missionaries who come to "save" them, as well as African vs American life, she gives a consciousness altering experience. For example, the white family comes with seeds to plant, but they won't grow because there are no pollinators (a lesson relevant to the current plight of the bees of the world), and the father/minister's goal is to baptize all of the village people in the river, which is life-threatening because of the alligators (or is it crocodiles?)in it.
In The Poisonwood Bible, a Baptist missionary takes his family to the Belgian Congo in the late '50s, endangering the lives of his wife and four daughters. Alternating between the voices of the mother and daughters, Kingsolver successfully paints the emotional depth of their predicament and the insanity of the father and his deranged beliefs.
"Powerful...Kingsolver is a gifted magician of words."
by Chicago Tribune,
"Compelling, lyrical and utterly believable."
by USA Today,
"Tragic, and remarkable....A novel that blends outlandish experience with Old Testament rhythms of prophecy and doom."
by San Diego Union-Tribune,
"A triple-decker, different coming-of-age novel, but also a clever look at language and cultures."
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