Title Profile & Character Information

The Poisonwood Bible

Annotation

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.



Awards
2000  Book Sense Book of the Year

Characters
NamePrice, Nathan
GenderMale
OccupationsMinister
 Missionary
TraitsMarried
Father
Baptist

NamePrice, Orleanna
GenderFemale
TraitsMarried
Mother

NamePrice, Rachel
GenderFemale

NamePrice, Leah
GenderFemale
TraitsTwin
Tomboy
Gifted

NamePrice, Adah
GenderFemale
TraitsTwin
Mute
Gifted

NamePrice, Ruth May
GenderFemale

GenreHistorical
Political
Sociological
Domestic
Suspense
Fiction
TopicsAmericans in foreign countries
Missionaries
Hardship
Social isolation
Mothers and daughters
Husbands and wives
Colonialism
Political instability
Threat of war
Cultural differences
Family relationships
SettingBelgian Congo
Kalinga, Congo
Village
Jungle