Barbara Kingsolver is known for creating strong and utterly convincing female characters, for her insight into human relationships, and for the social conscience with which she infuses her work. In The Poisonwood Bible, she brings all of these themes and all of her skills to bear in epic fashion. The novel chronicles 30 years in the lives of the Price family: a wife and four daughters transplanted to the Belgian Congo in 1959on the eve of its war for independenceby husband and father Nathan, a Baptist missionary. Nathan is abusive and unyielding, and neither the vegetable garden nor the brand of Christianity he has brought from Georgia is able to take root in the Congolese soil. As the Price women take turns telling the story, we watch the family crack and then shatter. In the end, its members must pick up the pieces and come to their individual terms with Africa ... even as Africa must somehow deal with the bitter legacy of all that the various Prices represent.
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