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Extended Audio Sample The Poisonwood Bible Audiobook, by Barbara Kingsolver Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (352,436 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Kingsolver Narrator: Dean Robertson Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2004 ISBN: 9781597105842
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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 all 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.

This tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against history's most dramatic political parables.

The Poisonwood Bible dances between the darkly comic human failings and inspiring poetic justices of our times. In a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption, Barbara Kingsolver has brought forth her most ambitious work ever.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Haunting…A novel of character, a narrative shaped by keen-eyed women.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A powerful new epic…She has with infinitely steady hands worked the prickly threads of religion, politics, race, sin, and redemption into a thing of terrible beauty.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Fully realized, richly embroidered, triumphant.”

    Newsweek

  • “The book’s sheer enjoyability is given depth by Kingsolver’s insight and compassion for Congo, including its people, and their language and sayings.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Compelling, lyrical, and utterly believable.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A triple-decker, different coming-of-age novel, but also a clever look at language and cultures.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “A novel that brims with excitement and rings with authority.”

    Oregonian

  • “Kingsolver’s work is a magnum opus, a parable encompassing a biblical structure, and a bibliography, and a believable cast of African characters.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Shortlisted for the 1999 Orange Prize for Fiction
  • A 1999 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction
  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • A 2000 Book Sense Book of the Year
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 K.p. Suba | 2/9/2014

    " Posionwood bible is the story of a family of six Americans comprising of an over-zealous, Baptist missionary, his wife Orleana Price and their four daughters who arrive in Belgian Congo in 1959 with several preconceived notions of Africa, to "civilize" a "rough people". Nathan Price's literal mind is too loud to listen and consequently he never learns anything about the local culture. His stubbornness and inability to comprehend the potential irrelevance of himself and his message in a country like Congo makes him refuse his one chance at leaving the country with his family when the politics around him threatens to take over their lives. He is so sure of the simplicity of the people he has come to educate, that he does not realize that the reason they steadfastly refused to be baptized in the river may have more to do with the crocodiles in it and less to do with their assumed obtuseness! In fact, his insistence that "Tata Jesus is Bangala" does not inspire confidence in the people since his American accent converts his intended meaning (Jesus is precious) to Jesus is poisonwood! Leah the paternal approval seeking one-half of a twin and the other, Adah, spouting lyrics and making palindrome nicknames, form the heart and the conscience of the novel. The eldest, a regular Mrs Malaprop, seems like a metaphor for the other half of the universe that vaguely recognizes that there is oppression and greed in the world, but believes that one needs one's "pink mohair twin set" to retain one's sanity. Orleana Price herself is a metaphor for Africa, "occupied by Nathan Price", just as Africa in general and Congo in particular, is occupied by an ill informed, arrogant West that is too loud to listen -- just like Nathan Price. We hear the children and the mother slowly making sense of each other as well as the world around them and learning from Africa and its people. It takes a tragedy to move them physically out of Africa, but they are each forever marked by her. This book weaves the author's global politics neatly with the familial politics of the people in the novel, thus making the reader care. It is also about communication and how it can never be honest if there is no mutual respect between the communicating parties. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Irene Carrick | 2/8/2014

    " when i read it it was my favorite book, now it's part of my favorites. about missionary family in africa and raising their daughters there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen Santana | 2/7/2014

    " This book was recommended to me by my daughter. While I enjoyed it, it didn't live up to my expectations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nadine Connor | 2/1/2014

    " In my top 10 favorite books of all time (so far). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 1/28/2014

    " I first read this in high school and it has been one of my favorite books since then. I have a paperback copy dog-eared that I re-read from time to time. I even splurged on a nice hardback edition too for my bookshelf. This book is amazing. Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective and I thought that would be annoying but it's not. One of my favorite books of all time! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Cavill | 1/16/2014

    " Absolutely one of the best audio-books ever. Very few novels can withstand the "read-out-loud" test, but this book and this reader are perfectly suited. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Tunstall | 1/16/2014

    " One of my favorite books ever! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sofie Trads | 1/8/2014

    " Favorite book. Love it. Can read it again and again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Byrd | 1/7/2014

    " I loved the way this book was written. No chapters. The sub-heads were who was doing the talking in each section. Made me want to write in first person. So that's exactly what I did in my next novel, "The River Keeper." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 R.G. Calkins | 12/22/2013

    " I love Kingsolver, love her books, and loved this one. There were times that it seemed slow, but it did not take away from the overall storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frances | 11/19/2013

    " A wonderful book which keeps you gripped. The author cleverly tells the story from the viewpoint of the female members of the Price family, enabling you to get a broad perspective of the family's experiences during and following Nathan Price's mission in the Congo. I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Burns | 10/27/2013

    " Read it in my first college philosophy class. Changed me perspective on choice, freedom, and religion. Suspenseful and thrilling as well! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Candace | 8/29/2013

    " It should be read, but feel that the climax of the book was half way through the book making the last half drag. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie Herzog | 8/26/2013

    " Starts off strong & engaging, but it seemed to become a little rant-y and self-indulgent in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Koford | 8/9/2013

    " It is fascinating; love the setting. The characters keep you page turning. The wording is a bit strange here and there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole Estes | 8/2/2013

    " On my list of top 10 books I have ever read in my life... and probably the first book that ever made me cry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Pottle | 8/1/2013

    " This is a book I read when it first came out and it has stuck with me all this time "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Dannatt | 2/5/2013

    " I loved the way that Kingsolver gave insights into Congo from a variety of perspectives. You the reader need to choose what you agree with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 2/21/2012

    " A relatively simple story, yet full of significantly different voices / viewpoints. Told from the view point of the four sisters it was amazing. Wonderful novel and story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peta Freedman | 1/2/2012

    " I enjoyed reading this book about a driven missionary's family life in Africa in the 1960s. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen Winters | 10/7/2011

    " Often good prose, but impossibly preachy, with one-dimensional characters designed more to advance an agenda than to tell a good story. The last quarter of the book was a groaning lecture "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacy | 11/28/2010

    " This is one of my favourite novels. The characters are fascinating and Kingsolver's ability to write different chapters using the voice and perspective of individual characters is spectacular. I loved the story and love within an imperfect family. It is beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maugasa Slagowski | 9/6/2010

    " This book would have ended well half way into the Book of Exodus. The rest of the book could have been separated into another novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marla Cosner | 7/15/2010

    " This is an excellent book with a story that will grab you and not let go. I agree with some of the other reviews, in that at first, I thought she should have ended the story when they leave the village--but in the end, I was glad she continued. Very, very well written!! Highly recommend!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nuala Woodham | 6/29/2010

    " I made a home in this book and didn't want to leave. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 1/5/2010

    " Amazing and beautiful and awful and heartbreaking and un-put-down-able. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carlotta Ungaro | 11/14/2009

    " This is one of those books that not only entertained but opened up my horizons and made me think differently. It is definitely one of my all-time favorites. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 9/2/2009

    " One of my favorite books of all times! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Do10271 | 5/23/2009

    " This was a page turner! "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver’s twelve books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction include the novels The Bean Trees and The Poisonwood Bible. Translated into nineteen languages, her work has won a devoted worldwide readership and many awards, including the National Humanities Medal.