The Poisonwood Bible

A Novel

Kingsolver, Barbara

Paperback - 2005
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Poisonwood Bible
Baker & Taylor
In 1959, Nathan Price, a evangelical Baptist who has taken his wife and four daughters on a mission to the Belgian Congo, finds that their traditions are no longer secure in this very different world, in a powerful story set against the backdrop of the Congo's battle for independence from Belgium. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 60,000 first printing.


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.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

& Taylor

The family of a Baptist missionary begins to unravel after they embark on a 1959 mission to the Belgian Congo, where they find their lives transformed over the course of three decades.

Publisher: New York : HarperPerennial, 2005, c1999
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial modern classics ed
ISBN: 9780060786502
Branch Call Number: FIC K
Characteristics: x, 546, 18 p. ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

A missionary family struggles to survive amid the chaos and intrigue of postcolonial Congo.

From the critics

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Mar 03, 2015

The Poisonwood Bible is a powerful and moving book. Barbara Kingsolver is probably one the best writers out there. Her books (especially Poisonwood) have deep political and philosophical themes to them. It was a great book, though there were some very sad parts. Please read this book!

Jan 13, 2015
  • olemissann rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Captivating book about the Congo, an American Missionary Family, and how lives can be changed with each decision made. The story is presented by the four daughters and their mother. It is not a fast or easy read, but it is one you will not soon forget because of the symbolism, beautiful descriptions, and wisdom scattered throughout the book.

Oct 25, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A departure from her more familiar Southwest settings, Kingsolver takes us to the Africa of 1959 which we see through the eyes of four missionary daughters and their mother. Each voice is clear and consistent with its unique look at daily survival in a remote village in the Congo: the jungle, the people, beliefs, traditions, sowing and reaping and the drums bringing politics from beyond their small world. The reader is mesmerized by the enormous effect over the next decades of their brief years together in the overwhelming presence that is Africa.

Aug 01, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This was so well written and a vivid portrait of colonial/post-colonial Africa. I am giving it 4.5 and not 5 full stars only because the last 1/4 was a bit slower for me and I guess I just wanted to know more about the years in between instead of skipping ahead 5 years, and then 10 years, and so on. But really this was engaging, beautiful, terrible, frustrating (I'm not sure I have loathed a character more than Nathaniel Price-except maybe Holden Caulfield), and such a worthwhile read. I am always interested in learning more about the history of the African continent and this just spurs my interest even more! I may have to add some books on the history of the Congo. I highly recommend this book.

May 19, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"You can't just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, without expecting the jungle to change you right back."
A sprawling, absorbing and ambitious novel about family, God, Africa, politics and imperialism that manages to handle big themes with wit and subtlety. Should've won the Pulitzer.

Jan 27, 2014

Good one!

Dec 24, 2013
  • JCLLeslieN rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This and Grapes of Wrath are my two all time favorites. Shows the hypocrisy of those who think they have all the answers.

Oct 13, 2013
  • bigoz123 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

You learn a lot from this book, and the writing is great.

Aug 22, 2013

Read this book my senior year of high school. Some parts are slow and a little too detailed some readers, but in the end it is a very powerful and moving book. I love the different points of view from the mother and four girls used to piece together the whole novel. Kingsolver is amazing at making these characters come alive. It's very difficult not to feel exactly as each woman feels.

Jun 11, 2013

Started reading this on Friday June 7 2013, was recommended by a friend, made little progress until Sunday June 9, where I read about 200 pages, so I am liking it!.....Monday June 10, to page 300

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Sep 20, 2011
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The family of a fierce evangelical Baptist missionary--Nathan Price, his wife, and his four daughters--begins to unravel after they embark on a 1959 mission to the Belgian Congo, where they find their lives transformed over the course of three decades. 545p.


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