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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

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  •  
    Debbie Mountain Home, ID, United States 03-12-11
    Debbie Mountain Home, ID, United States 03-12-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't Be Scared Off By the Narration Reviews"

    This is a great book with adequate narration. I read the print copy years ago and loved it, and have been wanting to listen to it on audio for a while now. Because several reviewers complained so much about the narration, though, I put off purchasing it. That was a mistake, because there's nothing terribly wrong with the narration. It's not the best, it could be better, but at no point while listening did I find myself becoming distracted from the tale because of the narration. The characters don't need different voices because their names are stated at the beginning of each chapter they narrate, and the author has written them different voices that can be distinguished in print. The narrator only speaks quickly in the sense that her rate of speed doesn't fit with the Southern accent in which she reads - there's a Southern accent but no Southern drawl.

    While the narration could certainly have been better, it in no way interfered with my enjoyment of this excellent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 02-18-11
    Cindy 02-18-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    71
    5
    Overall
    "Engrossing Read"

    I love reading stories that introduce me to other cultures and this one fits the bill. The characters are totally believable and the descriptions of their life in Africa - as seen through the various character's eyes - worked for me. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holli Woodland Hills, CA, United States 02-15-11
    Holli Woodland Hills, CA, United States 02-15-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    35
    14
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    "good on so many levels"

    This is the first time EVER that I've finished a book and gone right back to the beginning and started over and listened again. I've reread books years later and I've read books so good that I needed a hiatus to fully digest before moving on, but this had so many levels of meaning that I thought I better listen again for the things I missed. It was just as good the second time.

    Every assumption you thought you had gets turned on it's head by the end. Even fairly simple, straight forward ones. I love the particular attention to the meaning of words, mostly in Kikanga but also in English and French. A slight change of pitch dramatically changes the meaning of a word or a phrase -- but on the other hand you start to see how these multiple meanings are all part of the same and why they fit into the same word. Wow. So complex. TaTa Jesus is bangala!! My kids were shaking their heads as I occasionally said this out loud, because it has a certain song to it and the double meaning is too rich!

    The narrator was fantastic. She captured the 5 female voices perfectly. Sometimes I'd get in the car and forget where I left off and who was talking. In a minute I would be able to say, oh, that's Rachel because each voice was so distinctive. This is partly because of the author attention to personality differences.

    There is much here about cultures, politics, religion, commerce, language, local food production, Apartheid and tropical diseases. It's also about family relationships, the human-ness of every culture, the burdens parents pass on to their children.... all wrapped up in a great story that is just enjoyable to read. This makes it to the top of my favorites list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Babette Loveland, CO, United States 02-02-11
    Babette Loveland, CO, United States 02-02-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    32
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    "This is a masterpiece!"

    I have read and listened to this masterful book more times than I can count. I disagree with the criticism of the narrator. I think she is superb! This would have been better if read by multiple talents as "The Help" was, but I thought that the narrator did an admirable job.

    This book has so many layers and as a lay missionary, I can so relate to the characters and their struggles-- especially when it comes to the daughters of Nathan Price.

    This book makes my lifetime top ten. In fact, it ties for number one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
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    "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
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    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    207
    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
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    29
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    "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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    115
    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
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