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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 (4209 )
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  •  
    Lenox 04-19-12
    Lenox 04-19-12
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    4
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    "Loved this AudioBook!"
    Where does The Poisonwood Bible rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best! It is well written and at times I hung on every word! I did have to get used to the reader since I felt it was spoken a bit fast. But overall I highly recommend this book to anyone who really wants to hear a good story about "... there's Christians and then there's "Christians"... Loved it!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The various viewpoints from each member of the family - except "The Father", which I would have loved to get a better sense of who he was through his own eyes. But I enjoyed Ada the most, and her thoughts captivated me. I think everyone can relate in some degree of being different or imperfect and noticing how others relate to your visual imperfections - as she said - even the cripple girl wants to live. But I must admit I did laugh out loud at Rachel's sincere selfishness.


    Have you listened to any of Dean Robertson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    A bit fast, but it worked.


    If you could take any character from The Poisonwood Bible out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Ada. Amazing strength. She overcome a mother's decision to abandon her, only to later find out her mother's simple process of caregiving.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved how Barbara weaved a beautiful story of nature, marriage, motherhood, sibling rivalry, village relationships, racial tensions, poverty, religion and politics all in one wonderful story. I hope this books tells everyone how everything is intricately connected, no matter where we are in the world. Thanks, Barbara! Well done!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G Reinhardt 04-11-12
    G Reinhardt 04-11-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I loved loved loved this story"

    I purchased this book after a coworker recommended it, although I had little idea of what to expect. I was hooked from the start. I was raised in a very religious family and think I felt some kinship to the story tellers, although I certainly can't say that I experienced anything of the like. I had never read a great deal about the Congo either, so found it exciting to have my interest peeked about the country. I loved the way the author used the point of view from the very different and flawed characters in the book. It was quite enjoyable and I highly recommend this novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    littlesheree 03-26-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "The narrator ruins this book"

    I agree with the other reviews, the book overall is great. The narrator on the other hand is reading as fast as she can and makes it very hard to listen to or to keep track of what is going on. I would suggest listening to a sample first to see if you can tolerant the narrators style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginny 03-22-12
    Ginny 03-22-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Okay"
    What did you like best about The Poisonwood Bible? What did you like least?

    By switching narrators of the story, Ms. Kingsolver gives us a very complete view of her characters. We get to see, not only their best attributes, but also their flaws. We also get more insight as to why they made the decisions they did in an effort to cope with their situations. It made me like the characters more to understand, not only how others saw them, but how they saw themselves. This was most obvious to me with Rachel, who I couldn't connect with at all, but by the end of the book, I could really see how she was just doing what she could to carve out a life she could be happy with (even if I never could connect with her).

    The last third of the story seemed like multiple conclusions, one after another. I would think the story was over and another section would start. Then, when the story did end, it seemed abrupt. I appreciated, I think, knowing what happened to all of the characters later on in life but, it felt like touching more in depth than necessary on too many stories. It gave me too much information and too little at the same time, just leaving me lacking. I probably would have been happier with just the family reunion at the end and a brief explanation of what brought them to that point.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Barbara Kingsolver? Why or why not?

    Yes, I enjoyed her writing style, and I felt that she was very fair in what she presented. She did not try to tell the reader what opinion to have, but instead presented the evidence, if you will, and let the reader come to his/her own opinion.


    Did Dean Robertson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    There were times that I had missed the heading that differentiated who was telling the story, and it wasn't until I could tell that the author's voice had changed that I realized the character had changed. It would have been much easier to follow if the narrator had used different voices for each character.


    Do you think The Poisonwood Bible needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, but I think that the last third could have been worked into separate follow up books from each individual's perspective. I would have happily followed the individual stories of each of the characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    annette Santa Clarita, CA, United States 03-08-12
    annette Santa Clarita, CA, United States 03-08-12 Member Since 2010

    enteranet

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    "Incredible"
    Where does The Poisonwood Bible rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best explanations on the shaping of character and the exchange of cultures as a result of immigration.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Poisonwood Bible?

    Like evolution, the changes that take place, or are resisted by the characters, move slowly. I thought of my own children as I read about the 4 daughters of the Baptist missionary bringing salvation to the Congo. Through malnutrition, parasitic disease and marching ants the family grows attached to Africa. Why?


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The wisdom and forbearance of those who have been shaped by the Congo for millennia, are the shapers of the convertors from Georgia, U.S.A. To watch the father who brings salvation to darkest Africa isolate himself from reality reminds me of how we wish to create the world into our likeness.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Poisonwood Bible and why?

    Although I could most identify with the mother, the courage, patience and loyalty of Anatole most captured me. Each daughter, with her own story of what life is, filled the pieces of the puzzle.


    Any additional comments?

    I shed a tear or two when the story ended because, although it didn't end too soon, I will miss living with the characters' insights. Barbara Kingsolver created a masterpiece fit for any audience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaylyn Eagle Mountain, UT, United States 03-06-12
    Kaylyn Eagle Mountain, UT, United States 03-06-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved it!"
    What did you love best about The Poisonwood Bible?

    This was a very good story. I loved learning about life in Africa. I both loved and hated the characters at the same time. I felt bad for the mother being stuck in a horrible situation but not having a way to fix it. I kept waiting for her to grow a backbone and stand up to her husband. I liked learning about the sad history of the African politics.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth St. Louis, MO, United States 02-27-12
    Elizabeth St. Louis, MO, United States 02-27-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Pitch Perfect Narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I can't imagine just reading this book, after hearing it told in such beautiful, almost poetic tones.


    What does Dean Robertson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This was a fabulous narration of a beautiful and gripping story. The author 's use of different characters to take turns telling the story was brought perfectly to life through the narrator's ability to subtly alter voice to match each character's unique personality.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sue United States 02-02-12
    sue United States 02-02-12 Member Since 2011
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    "UGGGh"
    What disappointed you about The Poisonwood Bible?

    Boring. poor character development


    Would you ever listen to anything by Barbara Kingsolver again?

    No


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    sure. there was no pace


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Poisonwood Bible?

    i tried but did not finish listening. So I cut most of the 2ndhalf


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula United States 01-30-12
    Paula United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2015

    I want to read books that take me to a "place and/or time" I've never been. On the other hand, I love reading about places where I HAVE been.

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    "Possibly Kingsolver's Best Yet"

    I love the story of this family; wife and 4 daughters who moved to the Belgian Congo with their strict, unbending Baptist minister husband/father. Rich with detail and rife with calamity it is a wonderfully narrated story of life in Africa. Kingsolver evidently did her research. Enjoyed the POV of the daughters and the wife in each new chapter. I always feel a bit dismayed by the stories of Christians trying to convert the people of other lands. Why are/were such people so arrogant as to believe that colonization is the answer to political problems. Needless to say there is a good message here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    notadum1 VA, United States 01-21-12
    notadum1 VA, United States 01-21-12 Member Since 2015

    notadum1

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    "Beautifully read!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Poisonwood Bible the most enjoyable?

    I cannot express enough how I loved this narrator. It appears Audible incorrectly identifies her as Dean Robertson and I wish I knew who the narrator actually was b/c I would select other books read by her. I have read criticisms about her reading this book and I don't agree with a single one of them. She is fast but I much prefer a fast reader so that I'm lulled into sleepiness by a boring old narrator. This narrator also has the southern accents and voice down perfectly.


    Which character – as performed by Dean Robertson – was your favorite?

    My favorite character was Adah. The narrator read her part beautifully.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a magical book in which the Congo comes to life with each line you listen to. The book is an honest look into how damaging religion can be, and how arrogant we are as white Americans (and even the Europeans) are to think we can come in and

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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