by Barbara Kingsolver


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062684561
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 9,193
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver’s books of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction are widely translated and have won numerous literary awards. She is the founder of the PEN/Bellwether Prize, and in 2000 was awarded the National Humanities Medal, the country’s highest honor for service through the arts. Prior to her writing career she studied and worked as a biologist. She lives with her husband 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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Unsheltered: A Novel 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
An insightful journey into the minds and lives of two families a century apart. A thoughtful and delightful read.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Enjoyed the contrast of 2 families living in the same house a century apart.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This is a beautiful story of generations and how they take care of and are effected by each other.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I both devoured this book and forced myself to slow down in the hopes that it would last forever. I can’t get enough Kingsolver - her work continues to shape my community and order my experiences. I am grateful.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I've been a fan from the start, but I find this book so boring I can't finish it. I made it to page 168. I'm sorry but these characters do nothing for me.
Anonymous 12 months ago
I was unable to finish this book
PharisLW 10 months ago
I love Barbara Kingsolver's writing...her educated background brings credibility and richness to her stories' surroundings and situations. For me this book was a cliffhanger and a page-turner, a psychological roller coaster. There were many moments I had to lay down the book and just go "Wow." The Belgian Congo's upheaval which runs through the spine of this story happened during my teen years, but this book puts it all back in context. You'll come away understanding more about the Congolese culture, for sure.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Wonderful book.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Loved the first chapter, but that was it. Gave up completely after four chapters. Almost feel bad about giving it to my favorite used book store -- really boring, really preachy, really just not good.
Sandix 12 months ago
I have loved this author's past novels. I pre- ordered this one and was so exited when it came out. What a huge disappointment this was. It was so boring. I skimmed hoping it would get better. Never got better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldnt even finish this book!
Anonymous 3 days ago
Anonymous 6 days ago
Did not enjoy this book. Only finished because it was for my book club.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Giving up there is nothing likable about these characters partly because there is very little character development. Seems more attention given to building a sentence than tying it all together in a story. Pushed myself to page 200, I have stopped reading maybe 2 books in 50 years of reading. This is one of them.
LeslieLindsay 6 months ago
Meticulously observed, thought-provoking novel straddling two time periods unites political and social commentary in a 'novel' form, but it might not be for everybody. I heard about UNSHELTERED (October 2018, Harper) even before it came out. I was immediately enthralled with the premise of it being a slightly-historical narrative featuring an old house--on Plum Street, no less (our first home as newlyweds was located on a Plum Street) in an actual (non-fictive community). In my mind, UNSHELTERED would be a lovely smash up of LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Celeste Ng) meets Tom Perrotta's LITTLE CHILDREN meets Lauren Acampora (THE WONDER GARDEN), with a nice, healthy dose of Barbara Kingsolver's gripping commentary. UNSHELTERED was not what I was expecting. That said, it's not exactly a *bad* book, it just wasn't for me. I wanted more about the old house and less about the social and political world. UNSHELTERED is primarily about shelter--whether that's in the form of tangible structure, people, nature, work, whatever gives one a sense of comfort. The first chapter completely had me sucked in, and I so wanted the entire book to read in that fashion...but UNSHELTERED quickly took a nosedive, which I say with apprehension, might be a polarizing read. Willa Knox seems to have it all--she's in her 50s, a writer, and her husband is a college professor. They've raised two children--now in their 20s and have relocated to the small New Jersey town of Vineland as a last resort. Willa's magazine has closed and her husband, Iano lost his tenured professor position when his college shut its doors. He's now an adjunct and she's freelancing. The house they've moved to is old, crumbling, falling down. Her son's partner has a baby, and then something horrific happens to her. This is what I was really enjoying. Switching perspectives to the late 1870s, we get a second story about the founding of Vineland--a Utopian community built upon Christian principles. This is where the stories are meant to intersect--and they do--it just takes some time to get there. Willa begins looking into the history of her newly inherited crumbling Victorian (perhaps there's some money in preservation trusts that could help with the upkeep?) and learns a forward-thinking, barrier-breaking naturalist who was a correspondence of Charles Darwin used to live in the house. Maybe. Possibly. Every other chapter alternates between these two storylines, but at first, this is jarring, disorienting and I don't typically feel that way about bifurcated narratives. Kingsolver is a fabulous writer, witty and wry at times, but UNSHELTERED missed the mark for me. I found it too preachy and lecturing, though she does honor [women] biologists and anthropologists; plus she's very on-point about the political and social, as well as meteorological climates...but I don't know...I just didn't appreciate like I had hoped.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
I have a personal prejudice against authors/books that adopt trendy crises, topics, even cultural references, and I found this book to be filled with all of these. How many of these tragedies are we to read about -- young professionals who do not want to commit to marriage, out of wedlock children, drug addiction, massive student loan debt, housing crisis, out-of-work baby-boomers, younger child who is eschewing higher education after traveling to Cuba? The list was simply endless. I could not get interested in the characters or the incredible number of 21st century tragedies that have occurred in this one family.
TiBookChatter 8 months ago
Kingsolver is known for taking on the big issues and she does the same here. Unsheltered tells the story of two families, from two different centuries, who live in the same house. The present day family struggles financially. The house is in disrepair, they are caring for an elderly parent, insurance isn’t covering it and although they did everything right, this couple is on the brink of ruin. It’s a situation that many find themselves in and it’s definitely a story readers can relate to. But the other story, the one from the past, is not as compelling. That story involves science, truth and how the people of that time would rather turn a blind eye to Darwin’s research than investigate it. Two very different families but what they have in common is the home they live in. Interesting concept, but overall, it didn’t work for me. I loved the present day story, but really did not enjoy the story from the past and found myself skimming through it. I think there are a lot of things to ponder in Unsheltered such as our failing healthcare system, but the alternating timelines caused me to ultimately lose interest in the story as a whole.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Okay I am confused. It doesn't seem like the reviewers read the same book! I read the reviews to decide whether or not this would be a good gift for a friend and I am so disappointed. The "glowing" reviews are seemingly written by the publisher.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I loved this book which was recommended to me by a family member. It had so many layers and really spoke beautifully about generational changes and fears. There were parts that if you read them literally might be a bit boring, but overall the humanity in the book is beautiful... it would make a great book for a discussion group.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Kingsolver is a brilliant author! This novel is brilliant. Her characters are deeply formed and their voices are true. This is a must read!
Anonymous 12 months ago
Wish I could get a refund for this boring, self-aggrandizing book! Like others, I anticipated the latest from Kingsolver, but my time and money were completely wasted. It seems like the author concocted a host of low-class characters just to spout off her own personal political and cultural viewpoints. And to think I expected to lose myself in a some soothing fiction to escape the current partisan political conflicts! I'm so sick of the constant barrage from Red, Blue, Purple talking heads that I am trying to avoid political chaos from all sides. So what a disappointment to be blindsided by an author who surreptitiously substituted beautiful prose for a soap box.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Unsheltered is the ninth novel by best-selling, prize-winning American novelist, essayist, and poet, Barbara Kingsolver. Now in her fifties, Willa Knox never expected to be living in a run-down house in Vineland, New Jersey, still the hub of a family that includes her two adult children, her new grandson, her debilitated, demanding father-in-law and an ageing dog. Virtually unemployed, Willa is writing some freelance articles; her university professor husband Iano has a low-paid teaching job; her recently-widowed son Deke is juggling single fatherhood with setting up a personal financial advice company; her daughter Tig has abandoned college for protest action; her father-in-law Nick needs urgent medical care; and due to a lack of foundations, the house she inherited is literally starting to fall apart. Any sort of windfall, though not expected, would be helpful. Some hundred and forty years earlier, Thatcher Greenwood has moved from Boston to teach science at Vineland High School. Newly married to Rose, he has taken on the responsibility of both his late father-in-law’s family and house. His bright young sister-in-law, Polly is a bonus, whereas Rose’s mother, Aurelia falls into quite a different category. The house is not as sound as Aurelia believes, and his teaching position is a source of great frustration, as the school’s principal undermines his every attempt to infuse his students with current scientific knowledge. The timelines alternate between chapters with the events of the 1870s told from Thatcher’s perspective, while Willa narrates the story set in 2015/6. Kingsolver uses a clever device to bridge the chapter: the final words of one chapter form the heading of the next. Between the narratives, parallels and echoes abound, and not just the residency at 744 East Plum Street. And with them, Kingsolver deftly demonstrates that many of the challenges we think we’re facing for the first time are by no means unique or new phenomena. Kingsolver is highly skilled at creating believable characters: she writes about ordinary people facing everyday challenges, and yet, the reader can’t help but be enthralled. These are people who face hardships yet still worry about the greater good, about their country and the world. Their dialogue is credible, their relationships, realistic, and while there is naturally some friction between certain characters, their interactions (between couples, friends, siblings, parents/children, in-laws) are often entertaining. Kingsolver’s depiction of these pre-Trump-era characters who have made good decisions, doing the right thing and working hard all their lives, and still ending up effectively on the poverty line, is absolutely spot-on. Her analysis of the mindset of those who support Trump (who remains unnamed herein) is astute and insightful. “…we’re overdrawn at the bank, at the level of our species, but we don’t want to hear it. So if it’s not this exact prophet of self-indulgence we’re looking to for reassurance, it will be some other liar who’s good at distracting us from the truth. Because of the times we’re in.” Kingsolver gives Tig the voice of caution, making her intelligent, perceptive and articulate. If some readers feel this has a preachy tone to it, well, perhaps that’s because nothing else has worked and the situation is truly becoming dire. But it’s not all doom and gloom: there are also plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in the conversations; and if those nations that consider the
Anonymous 11 months ago
bookchickdi 11 months ago
Barbara Kingsolver has written some of the best books of the past 30 years, most notably The Poisonwood Bible. She writes about big issues as illuminated by her brilliantly conceived characters. Her latest, Unsheltered, tells a story that many people can relate to today. Willa Knox is a middle-aged mother of two grown children, happily married to Iano, a college professor she has loved forever. When Iano’s college closes, they are forced to move to New Jersey, where Iano found a one-year teaching position at a small college. His very ill father, Nick, lives with them, a man who loves cable news and talk radio and loudly, and profanely blames anyone different from himself for the woes of the country. Soon their son Zeke arrives with a new baby in tow, progressive daughter Tig comes home after two years incommunicado, and life becomes more difficult, made even more so by the fact that the home left to Willa by her aunt is literally falling down around them. Willa lost her job when the magazine she wrote for folded, and money is tight. She discovers that their home may have historical classification, and she begins to research the previous owners in hopes of saving it, and them. Thatcher Greenwood was a science professor who lived in the home after the Civil War. He believed in the work of Charles Darwin, which caused him trouble with his own family and the townspeople of Vineland. People believed Darwin's science was sacrilegious, and it frightened them. Kingsolver writes brilliantly and beautifully in a novel that touches the reader emotionally and rationally. Her characters feel like real people (and some of the historic ones are), and the relationships between them (especially Iano and Willa) are moving. She really nails the family dynamic, especially in times like these when it can be problematic.