The Poisonwood Bible

Dec 29th

Last night, I finished The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (2000 Book Sense Adult Fiction Winner).  My choir director recommended it to me a while ago, back when my sister first joined the PC.  She confessed that she has always had a secret desire to go to Africa and lives vicariously through people like Thryn.

Publisher Comments:

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 in1959. 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 order 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. 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.

I really liked this book.  Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view, telling the story in their own way.  Very Faulkneresque–but I like Faulkner, so there.  Not only do you get a multi-faceted plot, you get deep character sketches.  I was glad that I didn’t like all the characters (though I’m sure that was rather the point).

The story itself was so rich, so full of interesting history that I found myself wanting to learn more as the the book drew to a close.  The plot grew increasingly spotty toward the end, but I think it ended on a satisfying note.

Read for: Book Awards Reading Challenge

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