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The Poisonwood Bible | [Barbara Kingsolver]

The Poisonwood Bible

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2004 Barbara Kingsolver; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

What the Critics Say

"Haunting..A novel of character, a narrative shaped by keen-eyed women." (New York Times Book Review)
"The book's sheer enjoyability is given depth by Kingsolver's insight and compassion for Congo, including its people, and their language and sayings." (Boston Globe)
"Beautifully written....Kingsolver's tale of domestic tragedy is more than just a well-told yarn.. Played out against the bloody backdrop of political struggles in Congo that continue to this day, it is also particularly timely." (People)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3899 )
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4.3 (2621 )
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  •  
    Jill Livonia, MI, United States 01-27-11
    Jill Livonia, MI, United States 01-27-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story... narrator - meh..."

    I have enjoyed this book, after having to restart it a couple times to figure out that each chapter is from the perspective of each daughter and the mother. The narrator is horrible at helping one to distinguish this... she reads way too fast and in a most annoying monotone. I feel like my grandmother was reading it. I would think that this book would be much more appreciated in the non-audio version.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scott montgomery, AL, United States 01-24-11
    scott montgomery, AL, United States 01-24-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "best audible listen yet for me"

    First I want to disagree with reviewers who were so hard on this narrator. I thought she read brilliantly. I've heard some poorly narrated books but this is not one of them, and I'm pretty picky. One of my major pet peaves is when emphasis is put on the wrong word in a sentence. I hear it all the time. It literally happened only once in this book, and even that one was questionable. Also, this story is told from 5 perspectives and not only did she announce who was about to speak each time, there was a noticable difference in tone for all of them. The twins were similar in sound, but their personalities were so different, it was easy to know who was speaking (even if you were'nt paying attention when the narrrator told us). Monotone?? Only when speaking for the Mother at times, and it was surely intended. This was my first Barbara Kingsolver novel. It won't be my last. This book was highly impactful to me. It left me with a desire to be a better husband, better father, and most of all, to not let Christian duty over-ride first loving and caring for people. This book was a lot of things, but one thing it did was expose how damaging a distorted gospel, a gospel with holes in it, or a person on a "mission" can be if not motivated by love. This was not a "Christian book" so I hope I'm not scaring off the non-Christian from reading this book. But I am a Christian, and these are just some of the things I took from the book. I appreciated the African history lesson as well. I learned much. I highly reccomend this listen. What can I say? I laughed. I cried (yes, at work while I was operating machinery - "Please don't let my boss come around the corner while I'm sobbing") My only problem with this novel: I was under the impression that it was a true story...until the end when I listened to the author's closing notes - my fault. I should have noticed. I was sad that these people weren't real after getting to know them, but was then relieved for them too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue PADBURY, Australia 01-10-11
    Sue PADBURY, Australia 01-10-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    74
    10
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    Story
    "Narration lacks charm is a let down"

    I purchased this audiobook as it received fairly high ratings and sounded interesting. The narration lets down an otherwise possibly interesting tale down. The narrator uses the same voice for all characters, which makes the story hard to follow, lacks charm, and fails to hold my interest. In contrast, I've justed finished listening to Bryce Courtenay's Australian trilogy and the narrator, Humphrey Bower, creates a unique voice for each character (e.g., Tommo & Hawk). He's extremely talented and brings the book alive, which unfortunately is not done in The Poisonwood Bible.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Clemmons, NC, United States 12-30-10
    Amazon Customer Clemmons, NC, United States 12-30-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    "too fast"

    the narrator read the book at super speed with no distinguishing voices when the story is specifically split into character perspective. the story is wonderful, you just may want to read the print version.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela 12-23-10
    Angela 12-23-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    1
    Overall
    "A Fabulous Listen"

    What a heartfelt, wonderfully written and narrated book. It will become one of my Top Ten. The characters absolutely came alive as the story unfolded. Kept my interest till the end and I still find myself thinking about it. Quality entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Largo, FL, United States 12-23-10
    Mark Largo, FL, United States 12-23-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    4
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    "Very solid"

    The voices of the Price girls are poetic and insightful. I think this book would fall into the realm of chick lit but it spoke to me as well. The end is a bit drawn out and political but overall an excellent listen. Strong reading by Dean Robertson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BethAnn Denver, CO, United States 12-22-10
    BethAnn Denver, CO, United States 12-22-10 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    165
    5
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    "Didn't get through the first chapter"

    I am sure the book is wonderful, but the narration was TERRIBLE. I bought this book on sale and because I had always wanted to read it, I didn't bother to look at the reviews. Big mistake, since there are many people who complain about the narrator on the reviews here. I won't make that mistake again! I will be reading the print version.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna West Chicago, IL, United States 12-17-10
    Donna West Chicago, IL, United States 12-17-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    "a fun and interesting book"

    My daughter and I just came back from a mission trip in Uganda. I can totally relate to the author's portrayal of the Africans and love hearing about the culture from the different family member's perspectives. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who is interested in other cultures and likes down to earth, sarcastic, funny writing.

    I agree that it was hard to follow the transition from one character to another. But, it didn't ruin the story for me. I thought the narrator had a nice reading voice and I enjoyed listening. I've listened to about 100 audio books and this one has been added to my favorites list.

    My favorites also include Infidel, Ladies #1 Detective Agency series, Sarah's Key, Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, Laughing Without An Accent and the sequel, Freddy and Fredericka, etc. I love these books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett United States 12-13-10
    Brett United States 12-13-10 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "loved the book, loved the narrator"

    I loved this book! I also loved the narrator! The narrator has a Southern accent and it added depth to the book, as it was told by five southern Baptist women. She does not do "voices", but it was easy to tell who was speaking at which point because all of the characters were so different. If I happened to pause it in the middle of a section, it took only a few minutes to figure out who was narrating. I saw that there were a number of negative reviews regarding the narrator, so I encourage you to listen to the sample and decide for yourself. I did not think that she rushed or spoke in a monotone. In fact, I found her to be the opposite and really enjoyed listening to her read.

    As for the book, I laughed and cried and loved every minute of it. This book was fantastic to listen to and I often found myself bringing my ipod in from my car and listening to it inside. I highly recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan El Paso, TX, United States 12-05-10
    Dan El Paso, TX, United States 12-05-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    347
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    164
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    Overall
    "I'll Give You 4Goats for the Termite"

    Very well writen novel. I would have given it 5 if the story ended after Exodus. The second half of part 2 was like a very long epilog.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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