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The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible
Stock Photo: Cover May Be Different

The Poisonwood Bible Hardcover - 1998

by Kingsolver, Barbara

  • Used
  • Paperback

In her first novel since "Pigs in Heaven", Kingsolver offers a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption. An American missionary and his family travel to the Congo in 1959, a time of tremendous political and social upheaval. Web feature.



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  • Title The Poisonwood Bible
  • Author Kingsolver, Barbara
  • Binding Hardcover
  • Edition First Edition
  • Condition UsedVeryGood
  • Pages 560
  • Volumes 1
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher Harper, New York
  • Date 1998-10-07
  • Features Bibliography, Dust Cover, Table of Contents
  • Bookseller's Inventory # 4CNOOA001Q14
  • ISBN 9780060175405 / 0060175400
  • Weight 1.87 lbs (0.85 kg)
  • Dimensions 9.5 x 6.46 x 1.74 in (24.13 x 16.41 x 4.42 cm)
  • Reading level 960
  • Themes
    • Chronological Period: 1950-1999
    • Cultural Region: African
    • Demographic Orientation: Rural
    • Demographic Orientation: Small Town
    • Sex & Gender: Feminine
    • Topical: Coming of Age
    • Topical: Family
  • Library of Congress subjects Domestic fiction, Congo (Democratic Republic)
  • Library of Congress Catalog Number 98019901
  • Dewey Decimal Code FIC

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From the rear cover

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. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband's part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters--the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father's intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver's previous work, and extends this beloved writer's vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.


Media reviews


  • Best of Book Sense/First 5 Yrs, 04/01/2004, Page 1
  • Entertainment Weekly, 06/27/2008, Page 107
  • Foreword, 01/01/2005, Page 1
  • Kirkus Reviews, 09/01/1998, Page 1219
  • Library Journal, 09/01/1998, Page 214
  • New York Times, 10/18/1998, Page 7
  • People Weekly, 11/09/2009, Page 53
  • Publishers Weekly, 08/10/1998, Page 366
  • Publishers Weekly Best Books, 01/01/1998, Page 41