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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
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Critic Reviews

"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Joe on 06-28-09

Very Engrossing

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.

Highly recommended.

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38 of 38 people found this review helpful

By RELAINE on 08-09-09

A long time coming...........

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"

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96 of 98 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By metalwork on 09-22-10

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.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

By Kirstine on 11-06-10

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.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By KateS on 12-19-14


This is an extraordinary story and the use of the first person from all the female characters point's of view works extremely well. It is a history lesson in depth and with heart. Barbara Kingsolver's writing is exquisitely beautiful. Her research must be extensive. Cannot recommend it enough.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Kindle Customer on 12-17-17

Poisonwood bible

Such a delight. Amazing content but so appropriately read in an accent I think added to my enjoyment

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