This is the finest contemporary book I have read. The quality of the writing is outstanding, beautiful imagery with superbly crafted characters set against the fascinating backdrop of the Belgian Congo.
The Price family are brought to the Congo by their father, the evangelist Nathan Price, whose obsessional mission to bring the Christian message to the Congo has catastrophic results for the family. The talent of Barbara Kingsolver is in making us look at the comparative values of the `educated and enlightened' West and those of the `uneducated and unenlightened' Congolese through the vehicle of this dysfunctional family with breathtaking results.
The trials of the family and of the local community, narrated from the points of view of the mother and daughters are spell-binding. The well researched political and social backdrop is a real treat.
I have some sympathy with the view that the final quarter of the book starts to reveal the author's own political views rather than those of the characters and it could be argued that this detracts from what would otherwise be a masterpiece. However, this is a minor quibble. This is a truly outstanding novel.
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