The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

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Audiobook(CD - Unabridged, 13 CDs, 16 hours)

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Dean Robertson

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 order 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. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593559502
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 08/28/2004
Edition description: Unabridged, 13 CDs, 16 hours
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.37(d)

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She received the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work, and in 2010 won Britain's Orange Prize for The Lacuna. Before she made her living as a writer, Kingsolver earned degrees in biology and worked as a scientist. She now lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.

Date of Birth:

April 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Annapolis, Maryland


B.A., DePauw University, 1977; M.S., University of Arizona, 1981

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The Poisonwood Bible 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 712 reviews.
Hygd More than 1 year ago
As a former missionary kid (Mish-Kid) this book brought back tons of memories. I have seen real-life characters that would have fit so comfortably within the pages of this book. The book, I believe, would be a fantastic read for many. I definitely would not say for everyone. Not too many people will read it on a nostalgic level as I did, and for some others who grew up similarly to me, it would bring back emotions and memories they would best forget. It brought back memories to me of the missionary to Borneo who spoke at my school when I was a 13 year old kid. He finished speaking and then invited all who would promise to someday go to Borneo as missionaries to stand, making public affirmation of this promise. No one stood. We were 13. Who knew what tomorrow would bring? The speaker, however, did not free us from the bonds of this assembly. He kept repeating the "invitation". After countless entreaties, we all stood up at once. We'd had enough and were ready to get back to doing the things we wanted. The speaker was thrilled. Did he think that his message had reached us? As far as I know, no one has gone on to missionary work in Borneo and I am now in my late 50's. There was another fellow who sought to bring down the walls of Jericho. Jericho being a local bar. He and his church members marched around their Jericho, playing hymns with a trumpet and singing every night for some time...enough to bring down the walls of any modern day Jericho, if not at least to bring in the local authorities. I totally enjoyed Poisonwood. I knew the people within its pages. Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I read this book for a literature class, I had read some of Barbara Kingsolver's short stories. I really liked them, but I wasn't sure how a full-length book would be. And I have to say, the Poisonwood Bible is a fantastic novel. Kingsolver's writing flows and and is full of imagery and detail. It is set in the Congo, and follows the family of Nathan Price, a fanatical Baptist preacher. The story is told through the perspective of the four Price daughters and occasionally their mother. Kingsolver's ability to change her voice to match the personalities of her characters is incredible. My personal favorite Price is Adah, the damaged genius who plays with words and cynicism, but even the characters I disliked had interesting points to make. Definitely worth reading! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Poisonwood Bible is a well written novel with an outstanding story line. Barbara Kingsolver does a remarkable job of placing the reader in the middle of the jungle along with her characters and she includes enough history of the Congo to make the reader believe that this is almost a true story...even though it isn't! This book is definitely a great read for anyone looking for a great story!
HoosierJoe More than 1 year ago
The first two thirds of this book are fairly interesting and have good character development although it lacks in much of a plot. But it is a good chronicle of an ill advised missionary adventure of a possessed man and the family he drags along with him. The last third of the book is pretensous, boring, preachy, anti American, and anti Christian. In other words, all the same old blah, blah, blah that gets published a hundred times a year by all of these book-a-year authors. I started skimming just to get through the tedium.
Lolomurph More than 1 year ago
When traveling there is one question that festers in the mind; what do I bring? I'm not sure if Ruth May, Adah, Leah, or Rachel could've ever known what to pack when their father, Nathan Price, dragged them and their mother to the Belgian Congo. They attempted to carry everything they believed they would need in order to live there for a year; which was a different idea in each family member's perspective. As the story progresses, you will discover that everything they brought couldn't have ever prepared them for the tragic and life changing experiences they encountered. The story of their lives in Africa as missionaries is told from the eyes of the Price girls and their mother. With each girl having their own unique experiences they will take you on a remarkable and painful adventure. Meet their limbless neighbor, savor along with them the precious bottle of Clorox, learn the long and arduous art of cooking in the jungles of Africa, and watch as each girl finds their way through this mysterious culture. Barbara Kingsolver does a truly amazing job giving the world a glimpse into the life in Africa and the struggles of missionary families in the novel, The Poisonwood Bible. I enjoyed reading the story through the daughter's narrations because they seemed realistic in the sense that many teenage girls can relate. Rachel's character sticks out to me in that she is a normal makeup-wearing and boy crazed teenage girl like myself. My heart went out to missionary families after reading this novel; especially the mothers. The thought of trying to raise a family in such a culturally different place as Africa is hard to fathom and for that reason I praise Orleanna's character. As I read this book I got a different outlook on my faith as a whole and I obtained a new appreciation for those who give themselves and their families away to the mission field.
AvenueQ More than 1 year ago
If it were not for my English class, I never would have thought to read this book. However, I am glad that Ms. O'Brien did. On the surface this may seem like a chick book, but don't let the Oprah Club sticker fool you. This book is more about survival and faith while completely out of your element. Told from five points of view, this book follows a family of white missionaries into the Belgian Congo in the late 1950's and early 1960's. This book isn't preachy and stands out as a must-read. I have no doubt that this book will invoke profound thoughts in the reader. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Angela Meadows More than 1 year ago
I loved the first 2/3 of the book and couldn't put it down. As they all got older though it was too depressing and never seemed to end. I found myself trying to hurry through it to get it over with.
taciesmith More than 1 year ago
I am shocked that i liked this book as much a I did (I abhore organized religion) but it was a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was an insightful look into the results and colonizing influences of Africa. Through the world view of Postmodernism, each of these women discovers an equally valid existence as they seek forgiveness and reconciliation with the world around them. The stereotype of missionaries is easily debunked after a little research into 20th century missions and reading of the whole Bible instead of excerpts. There is more hope offered in these along with the hope found in finding love and contentment in authentic community. This is an interesting read for those who would like a glimpse into postmodernism and African culture. Care should be taken as in any read to not believe everything one reads but seek truth at the source.
shinnyleigh More than 1 year ago
Loved how each chapter was written from the perspective of a different character allowing you to get to know them and how they viewed their current situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book starts out a little slow with no continuity to the storyline. Starts to get better after about 150 pages. It's a book that makes think and question your beliefs about life, justice, and religion compared to other cultures. In essence, your environment has a lot to do with how you look at the world and other people and cultures. What is accepted as natural and obvious to you may seem ridiculous when looked at from a different point of view. I also learned a little bit of the history of the Conga and America's role in establishing a puppet leader to do it's bidding. It's important to look at the facts honestly instead of making excuses for the misdeeds of America's leaders. Only by holding our leaders accountable, can we make America be the bright shining light that it once was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Poisonwood Bible was an incredible book. There are some very mature subjects in this story, but nothing a high school student couldn’t handle. I enjoyed the book, because of its realistic plot, and obvious reference to events in history. I would recommend it to kids in high school, and older. Knowing the historical references makes the book so much more enjoyable, because you understand what’s happening, and know where the author is coming from. I would recommend this to a high school student, because it gives you a new perspective on life, and things we take for granted. As a women especially, I found this story inspiring, and empowering. I would recommend this story to women the most, because of its importance to women. I think we can all take something from it though. This story reminds us all that no matter where we come from we all are equal. No one person has control or dominance over another. It also reminds us that no matter how helpless we might feel, it’s never too late to change, and we can always stick up for what we believe in.   
NCKATHYB More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story with many introspective themes. By hearing the voices of each of the female members of the family, you hear several sides of different issues. I was impressed with the historical background and the sympathetic view of the native Africans. The study into the language was also interesting. It makes you think twice about some of our own government's policies. It also made me appreciate what we have, living in the US and how much we take for granted.
larrydarrell More than 1 year ago
A great insight into the goings-on in the Congo of 1960s. Barbara Kingsolver introduces you to characters that will live in your memory forever. She has remarkable depth in her understanding of people, and different cultures, and it makes her a great storyteller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book because the story is told through more than one perspective. I was hooked in the first few chapters. She is a very descriptive writer who takes you to the places she so eloquently desribes.
Frauhousewife More than 1 year ago
Excellent mix of fiction and history.
nomes0222 More than 1 year ago
I found it interesting the way that Barbara Kingsolver chose to portray the theme of conflicting cultures in this book. She chose a evangelical American priest, by the name of Nathan Price and his family to venture down into the Congo to try and convert the Congolese people to Christianity. The Nathan Price's arrogance and lack of understanding prevents him from doing this in appropriate fashion. He expects the Congolese to relish the teachings that he brings to them, and fails to understand that the native people had their own beliefs and were not going to change them readily. Kingsolver organized the book in a way that each of the women take turns narrating the story. Through this she protrays how the different characters were shaped by their experiences in the jungle. There is the vain, narrow-minded Rachel who says that "You can't just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, whithout expecting the jungle to change you right back." I liked the book because of Barbara Kingsolver's ability to incorporate precise detail and in doing so give the reader a greater understanding of the situation
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great read! It was intelligent, funny and informative. I read the book in one day and the characters have stayed with me ever since. I have recommended this book to countless people and have got a lot of satisfaction from their positive reviews. It's great to share a treasure!
Anonymous 5 months ago
KaneH 9 months ago
This is a powerful work of great scope and import. As a writer, it makes me sad that I will never create a book as good, as deep and meaningful as this one. It is so descriptive of not only our own culture, but a completely foreign one, bringing those alien folk to life and making us care about them. So much going on in profound differing portions of the tale. It came highly recommended, and now I can add my voice to that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is simply a masterpiece.
KimHeniadis More than 1 year ago
I read this book about 10 years ago, and enjoyed it. If you had asked me why, I couldn’t tell you much besides it was an interesting look at missionary life, and I like that it included some nature based religion, among all the Baptist preaching. When a book club member suggested it, I eagerly jumped at the chance to re-read it. And it is really rare for me to read a book twice (besides books by Christopher Pike and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin). The story is mainly told through the four daughters, with the mother talking a bit at the beginning of each section. In many ways the girls grow so much during their time in the jungle, but years later, there are ways that they are still the same. Kingsolver does an excellent job giving each of the five female characters their own unique voice. After the first chapter I could have flipped to any part of the book, and told you who was telling that part of the story. Not only were the characters written very well, but the details she gave in regards to the scenery were gorgeous. And the history that she told about the Congo during that time was fascinating. It was not dry at all, and I really wish more history classes were taught this way, not just memorizing dates. There are so many layers to this book, that I am still thinking about it, and book club was over a week ago. If you do read this one, and you have a chance to discuss it with others, I would highly suggest doing so. They may have different insights that you had never even thought about. I want to write more, but there is so much that goes on in this book that I don’t want to spoil anything. In fact I’m a bit jealous that you’ll get to experience it for the first time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago