The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Published by: HarperCollins
Published on: July 2005 (reprint)
Page Count: 576
My Reading Format: audiobook purchased through Audible.com
Narrator: Dean Robertson
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook
Today it is my great pleasure to be Barbara Kingsolver’s host on her TLC Book Tour. This tour is to celebrate The Lancuna. TLC Book Tours has also included hosts reading from her backlisted. Today I’ll be reviewing The Poisonwood Bible.
I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours. They always have great books and authors on tour. Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.
Synopsis from the Publisher
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 all 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.
This tale of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against history’s most dramatic political parables.
The Poisonwood Bible dances between the darkly comic human failings and inspiring poetic justices of our times. In a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption, Barbara Kingsolver has brought forth her most ambitious work ever.
I cannot tell you how much I loved this novel. Having each of the women in the Price family narrate this novel was fantastic because each woman had their own views about what was going on. This was due to their age, their relationship to Nathan Price, and their world view when they arrived at the Congo. What made this even more amazing was that I could have told you within just a few sentences who was narrating without being told otherwise because each of the five women had such a distinctive voice. The narrator was also incredible, bringing each of these characters alive as individuals. I especially loved the way Dean Robertson, who sounded like a woman to me the entire time, took Rachel’s common phrases and made them just so perfect.
Of all the characters, Adah Price, the twin sister with hemiplegia was my favorite. She lived so internally because of her condition and she used her brain to play with language. That use of language wasn’t just for her own amusement. It added a dimension to their lives and to the Congo that brought me there so easily.
I hated Nathan Price. I feel somewhat judgmental saying that as he had no voice in the novel. Still, what he did – or more often didn’t do – to and for his family while they were in the Congo so that he could answer to his calling was appalling. He may have bullied his family, but he was a weak man who hid behind the Bible.
The only issue I had with The Poisonwood Bible was that it got somewhat preachy about Africa and the Western world. Although I believe those were the thoughts and feelings of the narrators, the actual story and their lives said that much more loudly than the narrator’s opinions.
I cannot recommend this novel more highly. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should. Not only is the story rich, but the writing is excellent. You will not be disappointed.