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In fact they can and they do. The first part of The Poisonwood Bible revolves around Nathan's intransigent, bullying personality and his effect on both his family and on the village they have come to. As political instability grows in the Congo, so does the local witch doctor's animus toward the Prices, and both seem to converge with tragic consequences about halfway through the novel. From that point on, the family is dispersed and the novel follows each member's fortunes across a span of more than 30 years.
The Poisonwood Bible is arguably Barbara Kingsolver's most ambitious work, and it reveals both her great strengths and her weaknesses. As Nathan Price's wife and four daughters tell their story in alternating chapters, Kingsolver does a good job of differentiating the voices. But at times they can grate--teenaged Rachel's tendency towards precious malapropisms is particularly annoying (students practice their "French congregations"; Nathan's refusal to take his family home is a "tapestry of justice"). More problematic is Kingsolver's tendency to wear her politics on her sleeve; this is particularly evident in the second half of the novel, in which she uses her characters as mouthpieces to explicate the complicated and tragic history of the Belgian Congo.
Despite these weaknesses, Kingsolver's fully realised, three-dimensional characters make The Poisonwood Bible compelling, especially in the first half when Nathan Price is still at the centre of the action. And in her treatment of Africa and the Africans she is at her best, exhibiting the acute perception, moral engagement and lyrical prose that has made her previous novels so successful. --Alix Wilber, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I have read this book twice over the past 10 years. Beautifully written, it paints an intimate picture of a family of 6 who move from the southern states of America to live in the... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Mrs Sheila Warner
I wasn't sure I liked this at the beginning. The writing style is unusual and takes quite a while to get used to and the early part of the story is very slow. Read morePublished 19 days ago by portia hussey
This book captures you entirely and throws you out in the heart of the Congo jungle. Kingsolver paints a vivid picture of missionary life and her sibling narrators ring true with... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Miss C Sewell
Such a tragic story and so beautifully written. The short chapters, each headed with a different member of the family, unfold the story through the eyes of its characters. Read morePublished 23 days ago by runnerbean111
I did not like this book at all.I know each chapter was through the eyes of the wife & the children & I felt that made it very repetitive. Read morePublished 26 days ago by mg
Such an amazing and imaginative novel. Incredible characterisation and versatility on the author's part. Leaves you unsettled but somehow enriched by the experience. Read morePublished 29 days ago by P Paloma
I really love this book - it is beautifully written, the characters are very well defined and it is extremely thought-provoking. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mrs. Kaye E. Elliott
It took me a while to get into The Poisonwood Bible - in fact I gave up several times. But once I persevered I absolutely loved it. Such beautiful, evocative writing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by BookLover