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The Poisonwood Bible Audiobook

The Poisonwood Bible

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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

4.4 (6473 )
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4.4 (4951 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Norma S Wimberley 02-09-15
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    11
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    Performance
    Story
    "interesting"

    interesting,Americans are always bad guys but everyone always comes begging narrator was fine would not mind listening to more read by this person

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anicee Apple 01-31-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting Story"

    I enjoyed listening to the narrator and found the story intriguing. Highly recommend to read and captivating. Would read or listen to more books from the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GoodShopper$$$ Walnut Creek, CA United States 01-31-15
    GoodShopper$$$ Walnut Creek, CA United States 01-31-15 Member Since 2016
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    10
    1
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    "Well written, documented, and mind opening"

    Highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in non-American cultures. A must read. I enjoyed the audio performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexis SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 01-16-15
    Alexis SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 01-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Book Told From Multi-Person Perspective"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it is different from what I normally read. It raises complex, theoretical and real-world questions of politics, colonialism, racism, culture and religion through the perspectives of a southern, early 1960s housewife and her three daughters. Each chapter is told from the perspective of each woman as she attempts to cope with moving from the deep south in the United States to Kilanga in the Belgian Congo with their missionary husband/father. Each integrates with the Congo land and people in their own ways, while each dealing with the heavy-handed presence of their father/husband. The book is beautifully narrated and is one of the few that causes you to contemplate the underlying characters and environment, even when you're not reading. The events in the book and the ending will leave you both joyful and mourning - it is not a book to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer DENVER, COLORADO, United States 01-13-15
    Kindle Customer DENVER, COLORADO, United States 01-13-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Very good book!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Poisonwood Bible the most enjoyable?

    Honestly, I thought the narrator did a great job. I especially enjoyed her narration of Rachel. There were times in the beginning where I wasn't sure which girl was talking but after a few hours into the book I got the subtle differences in how they were voiced.


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

    Ruth May and the snake, the driver ants and Rachel's engagement.


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

    I thought her accent really reminded one of how far Georgia really is from the Congo in a way reading it wouldn't capture.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I thought it was a powerful book. Especially the relationship between Ada and her mother and the choice her mother made at one point in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely a worthwhile read. I didn't think I would like it but I ended up really enjoying it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 01-02-15
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 01-02-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why don’t people listen?"

    Here we have a man who takes his children to a country he knows nothing about with the intent on ‘teaching the dumb savages’ how to live a better way which fails miserably! I’ve been in this trap in my life where I thought the same thing, but it was people of my own country. I learned hard the first few times and after that I got wise real quick to listen to the ‘dumb savages’ which saved me. I’ve learned more listening than deciding I know what’s best. Here this guy never learns even after the death of his own child right before his eyes! He can’t feed them, protect them or even get them out!

    It’s a great story told by each of the 5 girls and gives a fresh perspective on with each one’s point of view being different from the others. How did they get out? Read and find out if the guy who brought them there ever learned his lessons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Whittier, California USA 01-02-15
    Kindle Customer Whittier, California USA 01-02-15 Member Since 2013
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    10
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    "an interesting read"

    took me a while to get into, but once I did I really enjoyed it I like how Kingsolver writes from inside her characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 12-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Congo as seen by missionaries."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Poisonwood Bible to be better than the print version?

    did not read the print version


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

    When the girls had to leave there home in the Congo.


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

    All female characters were outstanding as well as father.


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

    The mother because of her quiet tolerance.


    Any additional comments?

    You may agree or disagree with their live decisions but this book offers so much insight and narration is outstanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Finola Jennings Clark Saint Lucia 12-10-14
    Finola Jennings Clark Saint Lucia 12-10-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Takes you right into the jungle"
    Would you listen to The Poisonwood Bible again? Why?

    Yes. I will listen again - I really enjoyed this book - the characters were vivid and believable and the cultural setting done very well. The story was unique and told so well that you'd believe it was a recounting of real life


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

    there were many


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

    No, but I would listen to others


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

    none made my favourite, I felt them all


    Any additional comments?

    highly recommend

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura knoll 12-10-14
    Laura knoll 12-10-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I prayed for it to end...."
    Would you try another book from Barbara Kingsolver and/or Dean Robertson?

    ?


    What did you like best about this story?

    Ants


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dean Robertson’s performances?

    NO, VERY DRY boring narrator. No change of tone for different characters. She "reads" very well.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Sure @ RED box


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • metalwork
    9/22/10
    Overall
    "excellent read"

    This is an excellent book in many ways and I would recommend it to anyone not just for its story but for the relevance of its politics.It is humane, insightful and finely written, and therefore deserves to be much better narrated. It is read too fast, with little expression and with no attempt to vocally differentiate between the characters, in particular the mother and her 4 daughters, the main characters, all sound like the same person. Sadly, many of the subtleties of the writing, especially in the more moving parts, are spoiled and occasionally lost altogether in the narrator's disregard for punctuation and apparent hurry to get it all over and done with! Good audio book narrators don't just read aloud, they act as well. This narrator just reads it aloud.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    11/6/10
    Overall
    "A good story over-burdened with detail"

    The author has created a wealth of strong characters: the awful, overbearing, self-righteous Baptist missionary Nathan Price; his long-suffering wife and four very different daughters that he drags to the Congo in the late 1950s to satisfy his desire to bring Jesus to the natives. The Congolese he encounters are resourceful and pragmatic and he greatly under-estimates them. It's an epic story of battling against the odds set against the tragic political upheavals caused by US meddling that ruined the country. There is much of interest in the book, but I felt there was too much descriptive detail and attempts to draw moral parallels that slowed down the narrative. The author knows a lot about the Congo having lived there and has obviously done much research, but a good story has become over-burdened with her desire to include too much of this information. There are many characters with unfamiliar-sounding names that made it difficult to keep track of who was whom: a difficulty increased by the colourless and sometimes overly hurried narration in a monotonous voice with no attempt to differentiate among the characters. The book is structured such that we get the story told from the perspective of the mother and four daughters in turn but I kept losing track of who was 'speaking' as the narrator sounded the same all the time. A pity as some audio books are brought to life by a skilled narrator who can change voice as each character speaks.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Susan Rogers
    HARROGATE, United Kingdom
    1/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intriguing story"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a great story told cleverly through different eyes. I really enjoyed it, but the narrator didn't making it clear whose story she was telling because one chapter heading followed as if it were the next sentence without pausing. On numerous occasions I had to re-wind to check whose story I was now hearing. Thankfully it was such a good tale that it transcended the poor narration.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Linda
    ManchesterUnited Kingdom
    1/25/09
    Overall
    "Compelling"

    This is a compelling, multi-layered novel. It tells the story of Nathan Price, a bigoted Baptist minister who takes his wife and four daughters away from the comfort of their American home to the diseased and famine ridden Congo. This move eventually leads to tragedy and to the break-up of the family. Although sad in parts it's not a heavy listen - it's hard to put down as it's written with great humour, particularly the passages relating to the eldest daughter Rachel with all her Malapropisms.
    My only criticism is that the author spent far too long expounding her political views in the last quarter of the book. Those views of the ignorance of imperialism speak for themselves through the story. Aside from that, well worth the read, thought provoking and interesting from the historical perspective.

    23 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Kerry
    Irthlingborough, Northants, United Kingdom
    3/16/11
    Overall
    "Read this book to get the most out of it!"

    I did not get as much out of this book as I would have done by reading it. The story, although a little slow at the start, really takes off and is well worth persevering with. However I did not like the reader and thought she made no effort to read each character differently. This book is based upon the way the women characters see life in a Congolese village at the time of the uprising in 1961. The youngest is 5. The reader did not attempt to make the listener understand which character was 'speaking'. i would have got more out of reading it 'in the voice' of each character. Therefore I cannot recommend the audible version - though i do recommend the book.

    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    liskeard, cornwall, United Kingdom
    10/12/10
    Overall
    "So beautiful...."

    I listened to this book after hearing Tim Butchers account of his trip down the Congo (Blood River).

    It is one of my favourite audio books so far.

    The characters are so beautifully drawn, they almost seem real. In fact, at times I found it hard to believe that it was a work of fiction and not based on real events (although the political backdrop is, i believe, based on what really happened and is still happening).

    It is, in places, heart wrenchingly sad and there isn't really a totally happy ending, but still I felt satisfied at the end.

    Some of the descriptions of people, places and emotions are almost poetic.

    It's a lovely, feast of a book...

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tara
    Bedford, United Kingdom
    9/25/10
    Overall
    "Terrible Narration"

    I was really looking forward to listening to this as a number of people had recommended and I had heard some great things on the radio 4 book club. However I was really disappointed, the narrator didn't bring the characters alive at all, she was very one dimensional and her voice was actually pretty annoying. The story was interesting but I'm afraid I totally switched off due to the lack of commitment from the narrator. Just goes to show how important the narrator's job is when creating an audiobook, great books often fall flat if you get the wrong person reading them.

    21 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Rita
    Horsham, West Sussex, United Kingdom
    4/17/11
    Overall
    "Epic african story"

    An epic tale of a baptist minister who takes his reluctant family of wife and four girls from Georgia to the congo in 1960. The story is told in the 5 female voices and all are changed by the experience. The book is not narrated as stated by Dean Robertson but ? by the author. All five voices are different, offering alternate perspectives on Africa The family disperses following a death. I found the story gripping but the second half not as satisfactory(a bit of a polemic). However I would strongly recommend this audio - it inspired me to read more of modern African history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Suswati
    5/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Detailed look into colonialism in Congo"

    Barbara Kingsolver's epic novel about missionaries and colonialism in the Congo through the eyes of the women in a Christian American family is decadent and detailed. While many will complain about the hard hitting truths of complicity of western nations in destroying the country, it is extremely important and brings to light many historically overlooked issues.

    Keeping in mind that this is fictional, the various narratives​ are well researched to the point where at times it seems plausible and factual. The four main voices are completely different from one another and sometimes the anti-communist voice seemed like a mockery of that type of rhetoric. Leah's voice seemed more realistic than the others. Overall, a well written piece of literary fiction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nottamun
    Strasbourg, France
    12/14/12
    Overall
    "Lyrical and compelling"

    I enjoyed it. If the narration was a little flat, I wasn't put off by it and the fact that each subsection is preceded by a naming of the character involved helps in following the plot. The character of the four daughters is drawn out carefully, as is their development over time. The Congo and its people are far more than a mere backdrop; they shape the growth of Orleanna and her four girls, whereas the refusal of the father to attempt any sort of integration compromises not only his religious mission but also his family bonds. He fades slowly out of the picture, leaving Orleanna to face all the consequences.



    I wasn't convinced by all the characters. I couldn't get into the head of Rachel, the eldest girl, and Nathan, the father, remains a cipher despite his backstory. Adah, on the other hand, is fascinating and her plays with words reflect Kingsolver at her lyrical best.



    At times the book feels a little like a treatise on long-suffering motherhood and the second half seems nowhere near as strongly written but, overall, I thought it had real impact.



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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