Saturday, December 17, 2011

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

About the book: 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 everything 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. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy.

First linesImagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened. First, picture the forest. I want you to be its conscience, the eyes in the trees.

My thoughts: Wow. The author did a wonderful job bringing me into the story. Her descriptions of times and places, her imagery and detail caught me up and wouldn't let me go. It broke my heart in places.  The characters were well filled out, each with a distinctly different voice. I loved the oldest daughter's knack of messing up a phrase (tapestry of justice, dull and void.) The father was a thoroughly unlikable man. I think he has made it onto my list of most hated fictional characters. The author did a great job of weaving this story into the history of Belgain Congo. Very interesting.  As much as I liked this one the last third of the book seemed to drag for me. I recommend this book.

Rating: A+

Quote: "Why why why, they sang, the mothers who staggered down our road behind small tightly wrapped corpses, mothers crazy-walking on their knees, with mouths open wide like a hole ripped in mosquito netting. That mouth hole! Jagged torn place in their spirits that lets the small flying agonies pass in and out. Mothers with eyes squeezed shut, dark cheek muscles tied in knots, heads thrashing from side to side as they passed."


Phaedosia said...

Wasn't that father a jerk? I listened to this on audiobook a few years ago and loved it, too.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I listened to the audiobook last year and loved it. I was sorry I waited so long to experience it.

Glad u enjoyed it.

Teacher/Learner said...

This remains one of my favourite books. Isn't the imagery amazing? I still remember a great deal of this book, and I've read many others since then and don't remember a tiny bit of them. You've got to appreciate a book that does that.