Saturday, September 26, 2009
"The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver
(from inside flap)
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 post colonial Africa.
The novel is set against one of the dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder if 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. Against the backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband's part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters--the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharpe observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father's intractable mission, and my Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.
MY THOUGHTS: This book has been on my TBR(to be read)list forever. I have heard about it and all the people who have told me about this book said it was really good.
It is a fairly long book, 546 pages, but if so full of info on Africa and history that it keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens. The book starts out with Orlenna telling her story from Sanderling Island, Georgia. The book is put into sections like the bible. The first one is Genesis. As the family goes through their stay in Africa, of their trials and tribulations, they describe their life and all that happens to them. They each in turn have their own version of Africa. But of all the girls telling the story, Leah and Adah are the ones I like the most. They seem to have a better understanding of what's going on there in Africa. The political upheaval, the petulance, and the diseases that can wipe out whole villages. If you haven't read this book, put it on your list and read it. It's a truly awesome book!