I really enjoyed going back and forth amongst the character's points of view. This could be funny and heart rending at times. I felt so sorry for Orleanna. How could she go to Africa without a Plan B???
This is a richly woven story which is at times poetic when you read the point of view of Adah. It is informative and eye opening when you read about the history of the Congo. It made me wish to see what Africa would have been like if European explorers hadn't been so greedy to colonize and take it's natural resources including enslaving it's people.
But I love how richly layered Kingsolver made this book. You can read it for the interactions of the family as they move into the Congo for their father, Nathan Price, to realize his dream of missionary work amongst the people of the Congo. You do read about the history of the Congo and it's struggles for independence. But this a novel rich with interesting metaphors. It isn't a downer of a book. It isn't depressing, it is in many ways a triumph of the heart story of survival.
Nathan Price's journey into the Congo could be compared to the European explorers. He came there to do all the people a favor and conquer them with the Bible and God's word. But he never took the time learn the culture of the people or care about them and their customs. He didn't respect them and their superstitious beliefs. He didn't try to see them as people with reasons for doing things the way they do. I kept thinking that Nathan Price was just like the Pharisees in the Bible : self righteous and superior to everyone. It made me have no sympathy, empathy, or affinity for anything he was doing there. His work becomes laughable amongst the people. They ultimately don't respect him either.
Nathan Price isn't given a voice in this book. His story is told from his 4 daughters and wife who all go with him into the Congo, without wanting to go. His idea of God colors everyone's opinion of God and warps it. I do wish Kingsolver had given one chapter at the end to Nathan Price to have a voice. I wish he would have had regret or something. I felt their was no redemption for him and he got what he deserved. If he had a voice at the end, maybe we could respect him a little. But if he was doing God's work, why did he abandon his children and wife again and again? He didn't protect them or provide for them at times when they needed that.
This is a book that caused me to think. It made me think how important it is to to try to know the people around you before judging what you think to be their motives for doing things.
There were times when this was a funny book in terms of a chuckle here and there because the characters are richly drawn, you really get to know them. So things they say and do are fun to read and imagine.
I felt so sad for Orleanna though. So often life just seem to happen to her without her standing up for herself. Eventually she does stand up for herself and her children and is so desperate that she puts everyone in danger because she hasn't planned how to proceed, i.e., how to escape.
This book is well read by the narrator. This is an excellent book , rich and provocative , and a great one for a Book Club to read and discuss. Highly recommended.
This is a beautiful story. It takes you into the lives of a mother and her four girls. Each girls tells her story of life in Africa, where they were sent from Georgia. They all lived the same but each has her own unique experience. The book takes you into their world, showing you the beauty of Africa, and the hardships they endured. The narrators give life to each character making it an entrancing listen.
I can't choose a favorite character. They were all equally interesting in their own way.
I read this book several years ago, and yet it still made me cry when I listened to it.
This may be my all time favorite book, and is definitely my favorite audible book.
Perhaps the reader could have done a better job breaking the segments between the characters. Most of them had either the same voice or tones so similar it was hard for me to tell them apart.
How Robertson read for each of the characters was strikingly similar. It made it hard to get a sense of each of the characters as individuals.
Despite issues in following the characters, the story was compelling and well told from multiple perspectives.
I think this would be an easier book to read than to listen to.
Possibly if by a different narrator.
Hurried, clipped, unemotional, no variety of voice or cadence for the different characters
Yes yes yes. Such a big story of many lives. Such a skillful way to pose many deep human questions.
Brother Fowles & his wife. Flouting Christian convention but living compassion meaningfully by integrating with the local way of life.
Very well paced. Appropriate Southern accents.
It made my heart heavy for the way colonization and greed have damaged lands and peoples. The aching question: how can we do these thing to each other, and ultimately, ourselves?
Possibly the final part of the story was just a little too long, but I would need to listen again to get that clear.
Probably not. It's really long. Perhaps if I went on a long road trip with someone who hadn't heard it.
My favorite character is Adah. Her interesting way of seeing things and communicating as a child was fascinating and compelling to follow and her transformation as an adult was wonderful.I very much enjoyed Rachel has well. While she was not a particularly likeable she was always interesting and often a source of humor in a relatively serious book.
The end part went on a bit long. This story could have stood to be shortened a bit at the end.
The father! He was both scary and deeply interesting.
I enjoyed the different personalities of the family members of the missionaries and their unique perspectives and lessons learned from their experiences. Some of the descriptions were so vivid, I started to squirm with the characters.
It was a little drawn out at the end of the book, like the author wasn't quite sure where to leave it.
Not sure. If another book by this author is read by the same narrator or in the same way... the answer is absolutely NO! The whole point of LISTENING to a book is for the narrator to engage the listener! Dean Robertson accomplished the complete opposite.
The narrator ruined the story. The female reader used the EXACT SAME VOICE for EVERY character in the book, and there were at least FIVE different characters from a small child to a mother. I don't know WHAT they were thinking or HOW the author could allow her book to be presented in this fashion. I didn't want to finish listening to it and was actually angry/annoyed while listening throughout the book. I chose the book on the recommendation of a friend who neglected to tell me or rather forgot about the poor narrator. I would have loved to actually "READ" this book. I look for good audible books for long road trips and savor "reading" actual books while not in the car. "Poisonwood" is one book I would much rather have actually read.
"Poisonwood" inspired me to take more care in choosing an Audible selection. However, even if I were to have listened to an audio sample, I would never have known that the narrator NEVER changed the tone or sound of her voice when changing characters. I just wish someone would have pointed that out in customers' reviews.
I am stupefied by the author's/publisher's decision to allow the narrator to read an entire book using the EXACT same voice for all the characters! It is confusing and extremely disconcerting!
Take the first chapter of listening to get into the rhythm of the narration; fast Southern speak, which becomes endearing as you move forward and realize all the female characters in the story are given VOICE. Voice is something very lacking in their fascinating accounts of living as missionaries in the Congo with a very mentally, spiritually, and emotionally tormented Pacific War Veteran who had survivor guilt. He brings himself, his wife, and four daughters on what is and what isn't a fool's errand, due to his approach with the natives, the leadership of the village, and to Jesus in general. Deep down one ends up having some hard won compassion for this father figure because of his inability to understand his place in the world, his role in the family as a father, and ultimately himself as a child of God. I purchased this novel as a daily deal on audible, and now will surely be listening to Ms. Kingsolver's other works. She is a literary giant, simply put.
Heart of Darkness, due to setting and topics
Great Southern drawl; the voice differentials between the girls are excellent. One should give the fast speed of narration a chance ... One has to get used to the faster than normal talking .... However you will see you will have plenty of book even in spite of this. I believe it was 15 hours. Found myself listening to several chapters over again just because of thoughts, concepts, the beautiful prose, the haunting politics ... I did not want it to end.
I just absolutely loved the book hands down. I love audible and own 300 titles. I would say this is in my top 5 books of all time.
I am now a Kinsolver fan and plan to purchase more of her books. Thanks Audible for putting this novel on the daily deal. It was very appreciated and it is for certain that it was a great business move on your part, meaning that at full price I will end up buying the rest of her books on audio because she is just an amazing author and the narration performance extremely well done.