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Book Review of Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

By Edited Jul 14, 2016 0 0

Poisonwood Bible is one of the remarkable works of Barbara Kingsolver depicting the tumultuous emergence of a nation.  It has been hauntingly shown from the perspective of the outsiders who adversely get affected by it. 

A family of 6, i.e. the husband and wife along with their 4 daughters set off for Africa.  Yes, this is the Belgian Congo (presently known as Zaire), located in a remote place accessible only through airplane.  Nathan Price, a Baptist preacher (a missionary) settles in a remote village and finds himself, along with his family, in a very difficult situation. 

It is quite understandable for a family that starts its trip from the town of Bethlehem, Georgia and reaches an exotic land that is fully dense with tropical forest.  This is the plot of Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, the life of a family in a hostile environment.  The novel depicts the life of the family members as they deal with the hardships of living in a highly under-developed and impoverished country, with no good food and fighting to survive the extreme humid conditions of a tropical country with its accompanying list of exotic diseases. 

To make things difficult for the Price family, there are more dangerous things existing in the village than the dangerous wild animals and poisonous snakes.  Barbara Kingsolver has depicted quite well the desperate measure a family takes after going against the customs of the natives in between the ongoing war of independence against Belgium.  Although in the initial stages the natives do not find problems with the Christian preaching of Nathan Price, things start going against him and his family with the strong discourse against the prisoner intake by the natives during the war. 

One of the more popular novels of all time, Poisonwood Bible deals with the era of political instability in Congo and the fate of each member of the family in the ongoing chaos of this African nation.  The novel clearly depicts that in most of the cases a person standing against a mass of people for his beliefs and religion faces tragic consequences.  Due to the surprising turn of events, each and every member of the Price family disperses and their respective futures experience interesting twists of fate. 

Barbara Kingsolver has shown a true sense of maturity (Note: why maturity? Need to find some other quality to reflect your point here) in this novel as she vividly depicts the life of each member of the family over 3 decades.  In the alternating chapters, when Price’s daughters and wife express their stories, we can easily observe the quality of the author.  She really did a good job in differentiating (??? – what do you mean here about the voices of the family members, the thought is correct but differentiating sounds vague in relation to the point you’re making) all the voices of the family members. 


One of the bestselling novels of all time, Poisonwood Bible is considered to be the great work of Barbara Kingsolver.  The characters are bestowed 3-dimensional qualities by the author and coupled with all the events included in the novel, this book makes for highly compelling reading.   

Poisonwood Bible
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/morning-glow/5318312025/lightbox/ChocobO via Flickr


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