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Small Wonder: Essays [Complete & Unabridged] [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Barbara Kingsolver
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 2002

In this collection of essays, the author of High Tide in Tucson brings to us (out of one of history's darker moments) an extended love song to the world we still have. From its opening parable gleaned from recent news about a lost child saved in an astonishing way, the book moves on to consider a world of surprising and hopeful prospects ranging from an inventive conservation scheme in a remote jungle to the backyard flock of chickens tended by the author's small daughter.

Whether she is contemplating the Grand Canyon, her vegetable garden, motherhood, adolescence, genetic engineering, TV-watching, the history of civil rights, or the future of a nation founded on the best of all human impulses, these essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in those places, too. In the voice Kingsolver's readers have come to rely on - sometimes grave, occasionally hilarious, and ultimately persuasive - Small Wonder is a hopeful examination of the people we seem to be, and what we might yet make of ourselves.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Unabridged edition (Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006051146X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060511463
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 11 x 6.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,263,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in eastern Kentucky. Her books include poetry, non-fiction and award-winning fiction, and in 1999 she was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for The Poisonwood Bible (recently voted Britain's favourite reading group book). She lives with her husband and daughter in southern Arizona and in the mountains of southern Appalachia.

Product Description


'Kingsolver's passion and poise win you over. She gets at large issues through personal and botanical details' Ruth Padel, Financial Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver's thirteen books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction include the novels The Bean Trees and the international bestseller The Poisonwood Bible which, amongst other accolades, won the 2005 Penguin/Orange Reading Group Book of the Year award. Her most recent novel is The Lacuna. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonders for our time 16 Sep 2003
Barbara Kingsolver’s latest collection of essays explore topics ranging from genetic engineering, world poverty through to adolescence and motherhood. The heavy subjects I felt were handled with great insight, and the lighter topics were great fun to read. Her inspired writing poses great food for thought. One or two of her essays were written in response to the events of September 11th and so are rather sombre and somewhat moving in tone. She breaks down political issues into plain English and even suggests possible resolutions to some of the worlds economic problems. I found many of the essays spiritually enlighting and very refreshing. Her exuberant philosophy stays with you long after the last page.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo! 4 May 2008
On the back of a speculative purchase, I am excited to say that Small Wonder is one of my favourite books and without a doubt, one that I will re-read time and again. I thoroughly enjoyed the insight into Kingsolver's perspective on timeless issues. Her opinions are thought-provoking and have led me to re-assess my own outlook on these global, as well as domestic and local, issues. Although the American and local issues are closer to home to Kingsolver than myself, they can very easily be transposed to any or at least many countries and communities in the world. I look forward to reading more by Kingsolver and would recommend everyone to read Small Wonder for pure enlightenment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Small Wonder indeed! 29 July 2011
By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is an engaging and well-written collection of essays, which range from a response to 9/11, through issues about motherhood, growing up, and the nature of families, to some luminous and inspirational pieces about conservation, genetically modified crops, pesticides, inequality, the world view of the US, and many more. Understandably, given the variety, the quality varies at times, and her 'patriotic' defence against her ultra-right wing critics, is perhaps overdone, especially from a UK standpoint.

Nevertheless, almost throughout, these are impassioned and well structured/argued pieces. For me, the jewels in this collection are where Kingsolver observes nature in action around here, whether it be her rapt description of a hummingbird building its nest outside her kitchen window, or her magical exploration of ancient Mayan ruins amid ancient protected forests in Mexico. She has a talent to make the everyday seem extraordinary, and vice versa, and a similar ability to move from the particular to the universal, so the reader can see the connection of things, and our responsibility as individuals, and as part of a worldwide brotherhood.

The issues she explores, and the causes she promotes, are dealt with in a saddened tone, quite without hectoring, and all the more powerful for it. This book is both a plea to step back from the blind exploitation of the world, and a celebration of its moving and incomparable beauty, and will linger long in the mind. Essential reading for all who care about the planet.
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