The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver
From the 2002 paperback edition (HarperPerennial):
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 itfrom garden seeds to Scriptureis calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one familys 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 20th century: the Congos 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. 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.
There are few ambitious, successful, and beautiful novels. Lucky for us, we have one now.
Washington Post Book World
Haunting.... A novel of character, a narrative shaped by keen-eyed women.
New York Times Book Review
Barbara Kingsolver has dreamed a magnificent fiction and a ferocious bill of indictment.... What we have herewith this new, mature, angry, heartbroken, expansive out-of-Africa Kingsolveris at last our very own Lessing and our very own Gordimer.
Fully realized, richly embroidered, triumphant.