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
"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)
My sister, who lives in Africa, gave me the book soon after it was published with the instruction that this was a "must read". In spite of several attempts, I never could get too far before I lost the thread of the character changes and gave up. This summer I decided to "listen and read" at the same time, and suddenly the book came alive to me. It took a couple of hours to get Dean's subtle voice changes for the younger girls - but by the end of the book I didn't need the preface of names to know them as individuals.
I loved it and was sad to reach the end.
The detailed underlying history shocked me, I have been compelled to learn more about Congo and it's still turbulent evolution. The family story, as it details the maturation of supressed little girls into hugely differing independant women, each far greater than their father's expectations, illustrates how one absorbs a comprehension of life from your surroundings and experience that is not necessarily what your teachers intend. My sister was right. Truly a "must read"
This story, having it told by all the female members of the Price family, is so engaging that my 16 y o son had to talk about it, analyzing it, spontaneously after listening. He has never before made such a vigorous review including politics, history, characters ending with conclusions showing an understanding, on a new level, of our contemporary history having read or listen ed to a novel.
I understand his reaction after enjoying the listen too and we have discussed it further as more family members have listened too. We all (4, mix grown ups and adolescents) share the opinion the this is a well narrated good story where there characters have room to grow and develop.
When I read Barbara Kingsolver's "Pigs In Heaven" I was transported to a world of ordinary life written in simple words which together conveyed color and the music of language. Once again I was enveloped in language and story while engrossed in The Poisonwood Bible. Ms. Kingsolver's word magic was coupled with perfect accent, intonation and emotion in a genius narration. Read (listen) The Poisonwood Bible not just for the story, which definitely keeps a reader's interest, but for the experience of listening to well-chosen words taking you to the color of mid-century Africa.
I very much enjoyed this audio book. The first three quarters are phenomenal. It begins to feel slightly tedious and repetitive for the last quarter, but that may have had more to do with the fact that I was listening to it for long stretches, and may have felt some fatigue as a result.
I thought the narration was fantastic, and I thought the narrator captured the different characters' personalities in a very skilled and subtle way. I especially enjoyed her versions of Adah and Rachel.
There are things about this book that might work better in print, such as Adah's palindromes and other word play. But I so enjoyed this audio version that I didn't regret for a moment that I wasn't actually reading it.
I foolishly ignored all the reviews that said the narrator was horrible. I thought I'd see for myself. BIG mistake. The book is excellent and I highly recommend reading it. I started with the audible recording but soon became utterly disgusted with the narrator who has absolutely no imagination and must be someone's wife or friend owed a favor. But the story is a good one so I got the book and totallly loved it. Don't waste your time with this recording!
Barbara Kingsolver is a great writer, and this is her greatest book yet. She writes with such intelligence, knowledge, and compassion, obviously works hard at research, and - in this book especially - brings her characters and a continent to life. I read the book years ago and was VERY excited to have to chance to listen to it. I remembered the characters, but didn't remember a lot of the story, so I got to appreciate it all over again.
The most amazing aspect of this book is that it's written in five distinct voices. From Rachel's wonderfully mixed metaphors and word confusion (for example, she extols America's practice of single marriage vs. Congo's multiple marriage system and says "we call it monotony!") to Leah's intelligent palindromes and poetry, each voice is unique. Knowing this, I worried that a narrator might try too hard to differentiate them - and I HATE it when narrators do child voices, so it was a risk! This reader did a GREAT job through pace and inflection - subtle, but effective.
I would profess that this book is a masterpiece written by a master writer. However, I was deeply disappointed with the narrator. How does this happen ; bad narrators getting these jobs? DO BETTER RESEARCH AND TEST RUNS BEFORE PLACING A CONTRACT BEFORE THESE MISERABLE NARRATORS! PLEASE! This narrator is cold and lacks artistry. She also speeds through lyrical sections of beautiful language that should be fully absorbed and savored. Eventually you get used to this cold and seemingly heartless and artless style, but it continues to intermittently frustrate and annoy. This narrator resembles, to my mind, some kind of stern and mean schoolmaster from the 19th century living to make her students miserable. Generally the narrators of audiobooks are thoughtfully and well chosen, but i am beginning to suspect that certain jobs are given as favors to friends or colleagues, for how else could lousy narrators get these jobs. I do not understand. The Audiobook business is, thankfully, an increasing market. I hope this fact will continue to encourage producers to make better and more conscientious choices when hiring narrators.
Nonetheless, this book is such a fine work of literature, that I would recommend it in spite of this very unfavorable narrator.
This is by far one of the most interesting books I have listen to to date.
From the begining I was pulled into the family and into a world in the Congo I had never imagined.
True, at times it was very policital, but that did not detract from the story.
It was also one of the better read book I have heard.
One of the few books I will listen to again.
I am only half way through this book - I find the story to be interesting and it has gotten my attention, so I will continue to listen to it. However, the narrator reads so quickly - it's as if she's trying to read a 16 hour book in 4 hours! She reads each person in the same voice, and without giving any personality to the characters. This book would be much more enjoyable if it were read better, or if I read it for myself. Story - great. Narration - poor.
This of course is a well reviewed book and loved by many. But this wonderful book suffers at the voice of the narrator of the audiobook itself. I suggest anyone who has an interest listen to the sample as the entire book is read just like this. As the listener of 80 plus audiobooks in the past year and a half, I understand what a good narrator means to a book. And the narrator here, who uses a flat almost monotone voice does a great disservice to this powerful book. The writing was great. That said I had to literally force myself to pay attention, keep going and finish because the narrator might as well as have been reading a grocery list. Great book, poor vocal talent choice.
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