The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible

By Barbara Kingsolver

  • Release Date: 2009-10-13
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 364 Ratings


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 postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of 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 this 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 sharply 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 by 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.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver's previous work, and extends this beloved writer's vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.


  • Love this book!!!

    By Psychreb
    This is one of my all time favorite books! I have read it more than once and highlighted so many lines. Love the perspective of chapters being written by each daughter and the haunting early chapter from the mother.
  • Not so great.

    By You don't need 2know my name
    It had potential to be a good book but I didn't find it interesting at all. It had a slow start and I thought it was going to get better but it never did. There is nothing that happens that grabs the readers attention. It is also very long for a book where nothing happens. I can't even reach the end. Love the author but not this book.
  • Five stars

    By Ashtay15
    I may be young but I've read my fair share of books. This the first to make me cry. It's a thought provoking page turner that I would recommend to anyone
  • Memories

    By Smitch87
    My mother and I used to read this book together when I was younger. It holds a very special place in my heart. It will forever be the best book I've ever read
  • fiction

    By thesoulofjapan
    I was prepared to purchase this book but read it was fiction. If this was a true account then I would have downloaded it.
  • You need to read this book.

    By Lauralovsnick
    Had to read it for high school. Was not really looking forward to it. But this book was honestly one of the best books ever written. It's pure and raw. It touches every motion. Learned that too of anything even religion can be harmful. Good book.
  • Epic novel to be cherished

    By Lisa Barton
    I read a great deal during my day and when this over came across my radar, I wasn't disappointed. Typically, Oprah pics are involved and are usually about rape or blacks' rights or deformed people, however ,this book is literally a "Bible" to our humanity. Even though this book took 30years in the making, it is pure genius, what kingsolver wrote spoke to me and clarified emotions and general life experiences in a philosophical way. The book was never dull, or too religious in delivery even though it's about a preacher. But don't let that deter you. Realistically, it's an epic novel about the lives of the Price family and how they managed to survive the Congo. It was very real and the writing , didactic in creation. A must read for anybody trying to make sense of this world. Great characters , also . Read it, I wish I never did so I can read it all over again.
  • Excellent!

    By macmi01
    I bought this book to listen to while at the gym. It was enthralling from the minute I turned it on. We follow the lives of a single family starting with their adventure to the congo. Each member has a different perspective and each are amazingly interesting. I loved the reader and found the story to be insightful and interesting.
  • Great book!

    By Emdoll1979
    Beautiful writing. You feel as if you are in the plot. Creative and complex characters. I have read the book several times over the years and always enjoy it!
  • Phenomenal!

    By lalamegan
    I had to read this book for school last year, and it is one of my favorite books ever. The writing is flawless, the characters are interesting, complex, and entertaining, and the plot is riveting. Such a good read which taught me something as well!