POISONWOOD BIBLE, Barbara
God's Kingdom in its
pure, unenlightened glory. So
fourteen-year-old Leah Price
expects when, in the summer
of 1959, she arrives in the
Congo with her family. Her Baptist-preacher
father, Reverend Nathan Price,
assigned to Kilanga mission,
is determined to enlighten the
savages and to rule his family
with strict biblical sanction.
Leah's twin, Adah, the victim
of hemiplegia at birth, limps
along and maintains silence.
Fifteen-year-old Rachel resents
being dropped on "this
dread dark shore" far from
America's fashions and comforts.
Ruth May, five years old, faints.
And their mother, Orleanna,
readies herself to protect them
all from whatever perils may
come--from jungle, river, or
father and his terrible God.
From 1959 through 1998, the
Price sisters tell their stories,
in alternating narratives that
reflect their ages as the years
pass and the understandings
that they achieve. Those stories--together
with Orleanna's retrospective
commentaries--reveal the amazing
forty-year saga that the Prices
and the Congo share. Cultural
and spiritual conflicts, confusion
and revelation, hunger and pleasure,
cruelties and kindness, suffering
and love, all combine with the
day-to-day life in Africa's
villages to enrich this tale.
This is Kingsolver's most daring,
complex, and rewarding novel--a
whopping good story told with
tender majesty. The wisdom that
Rachel, Adah, Leah, Ruth May,
and Orleanna wrest from their
lives is also ours.