The Poisonwood Bible

[PDF / Epub] ☃ The Poisonwood Bible By Barbara Kingsolver – 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 ever 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 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 Poisonwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist essayist and poet She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in Africa in her early childhood Kingsolver earned degrees in Biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels Her most famous works include The Poisonwood Bible the tale of a missionary family in the Congo.

The Poisonwood Bible Kindle º The Poisonwood  PDF or
  • Hardcover
  • 546 pages
  • The Poisonwood Bible
  • Barbara Kingsolver
  • English
  • 13 July 2014
  • 9780060786502

10 thoughts on “The Poisonwood Bible

  1. says:

    On one hand there is nothing new here and on this same old tirade I disagree strongly with the author Examples Relativism I'm sorry I believe infanticide to be wrong for all cultures for all times Missionaries particularly protestant missionaries to Africa were entirely the endeavor of egotistic abusive colonialists who were merely out to change Africa into either a western society or an exploitative factory for western society Wrong again read Tom Hiney's On the Missionary Trail for a non fiction perspective that documents ways in which many missionaries were actually upsetting the colonial balance by preparing native peoples for independence tutoring leaders on negotiation with world powers recording native history and cultural practices and transcribing their languages ; see also Philips Jenkins' The Next Christendomhttpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshow Marriage is an oppressive institution that consumes women; they need to escape Certainly SOME marriages are but that doesn't mean we go the way of disregarding it as a foundational institution of society America is an evil power of which we should all be ashamed False again I cannot deny mistakes have been made in American foreign policy and certainly events of the Congo as presented in this book would appear to be this way But there are also many things America has done that are good such as preserving freedom for those who live here to write books ripping on America and these shouldn't be ignored All cultural traditions should be preserved because they have merit in and of themselves I do not agree with this at all Female circumcision should not be regardless of whether it is a cultural tradition Not only does it serve no purpose to enhance the lives of either men or women it is destructive to them At the same time the American high fat high sugar diet while traditional burgers fries and shakes should be changed American isolationalism that doesn't consider other cultures and peoples should also go too The work is hailed as an examination of personal responsibility Clearly all Belgians American colonialists businessmen husbandsfathers missionaries and mothers to a lesser extent are to be found culpable in the downfall of the Congo as if this type of situation has never occurred in history before But the truth is often far complex and the events in Congo while horrible cannot really be understood outside of their larger context Was Congo the only African nation to suffer? Was there truly not a single benefit of colonialism? Were all businessmen westerners culpable or colluding? Were all involved in the downfall of the Congo Christians? Were not the African leader Mbuto funded by the US yes and his followers not eually guilty of selling out Africans for personal gain? Were there not some westerners like the noble parents of the author mentioned in the prelude trying to make life better for Africans? Is this not the same thing we see currently in Zimbabwe? If we are going to examine evil and exploitation let's remember that no one person country or even time has a lock on it And lets not paint extreme pictures of those we chose to reject while painting those we agree with in glowing terms As with many fictional accounts we don't like to admit the good and the bad falls on both sidesChristianity is merely a tool people use to exploit others and promote their own agenda I fundamentally disagree with this perspective Christianity is a relationship with Christ that involves following after Him and becoming like HimThe extreme situation the author creates in this fictional account allows her to proclaim her philosophies of life with vigor particularly anti Christianity and anti Americanism In the foreword she makes effort to point out that her parents who went to the Congo in the same time period have NOTHING in common with the main subjects of the work essentially preparing the reader for the assault upon the southern baptist missionary and his 4 children from Georgia who are the main charactersWith such flaws a work should be easily dismissed However there are some glowing strong points The writing is exceptional and there are many rich scenes that are not soon forgotten The understanding of African life customs language and landscape as well as the ability to portray this amazingly beautiful land as a living organism were compellingly impressed upon my mind The character development and interaction of perspectives each chapter is the perspective of one character the book being a series of their interwoven stories is extraordinary; though it is noteworthy that the author doesn't include a single chapter from the perspective of the husbandfathermissionary zealot of the family but only permits him to be defined by the others I really cared about the characters and wanted to know what would happen to themThe examination of cross cultural interaction and communication is powerfully illustrated as we begin with a purely American perspective that slowly opens through the eyes of some not all characters to an African perspectiveWhile it might be a helpful work to those longing to know Africa or understand cross cultural disconnects I cannot give it than two stars because of the blatant agenda referenced aboveADDENDUM For those really wanting to understand the history of the Congo including the dark side of it's formation I recommend King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild Hochschild's work is well told enjoyable even to non historians and will give an excellent picture of the dynamics both the good and the evil at work in the Congo Looking back compared to the exceptional King Leopold's Ghost Poisonwood Bible was an incredible waste of time i'm lowering it to one starTom Hiney's On the Missionary Trail is also excellent in content though not as well written for those interested in the lives of ordinary meaning not generally famous missionaries around the worldKing Leopold's Ghost Hochschild 1999httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowOn the Missionary Trail Hiney 2001httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowGive Me this Mountain Roseveare 1966httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowThis is a non fiction memoir written by a missionary serving in the Congo during the time period covered by Kingsolver You will notice the prose lacks Kingsolver's enchantment but you will learn something of what it was actually like for a mission and some of it's servants to live through the independence of the Congo and the following civil war UPDATEResearch uantifying the impact of protestant missionaries around the world A summary publication in American Political Science Review here I believe this to be the WORST review I have ever written on Goodreads yet it is the most discussed I was so annoyed by the material I didn't want to spend the time to polish my thoughts I just wanted to be done with it Yes now I regret it For what I consider better work and no less controversial check out my review and follow up comments discussion of Roots by Alex HaleyhttpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowThis title came up in discussion as a non fiction resource for learning about the African continent as a wholeThe Fate of Africa Meredith 2005httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshow

  2. says:

    There's plenty of Goodreads reviewers who felt differently but I found The Poisonwood Bible to be a very strong and very different piece of historical fiction It's a slower story than I normally like something you might want to consider before deciding whether to try this 600 page exploration of colonialism postcolonialism and postcolonial attitudes but I very much enjoyed this incredibly detailed portrait of a family and a society set in the Belgian Congo of 1959 And I unlike some other readers didn't see evidence of a narrow minded agenda in Kingsolver's tale I didn't really see this as a book about lessons or morals I saw it as a close look at the reality of this time and the different way it can be perceived depending on your point of viewI like writers who explore without trying to impart a lesson who lay out a canvas but let the reader draw their own conclusions from it This adds depth and a layer of complexity to the novel that allows for that dreaded word interpretation to rear its head But different interpretations make for very interesting conversations And I love it when reading a book creates a two way stream of ideas those of the author and those of the reader the kind of book that asks me to think instead of proceeding to think for me Lectures on colonialism? Been there done that give me this thought provoking method any dayI particularly like what Tatiana said about the different POVs of the Price family and how each showed a different side and a different attitude to colonialism From those who saw it as the West's duty to educate and industrialize savages and rid them of such damaging practices as genital mutilation and infanticide; to those who feel embarrassed at what the West has done to the postcolonial world and believe in the need for cultural respect It's complex because there isn't a simple answer to the uestions raised by colonialism Do objective absolute truths ever exist? Where does culture end and universal human rights begin? Is humanitarian intervention a responsibility or an excuse to impose Western beliefs and values on postcolonial societies? Kingsolver shows the many sides to this issue and lets you draw your own conclusionsThe story is about Nathan Price and his family Nathan is an evangelical Baptist from Georgia who believes God has sent him on a mission to save through religious conversion the savage citizens of the Belgian Congo With him are his wife and four daughters and the novel alternates between each of these five perspectives I'm not usually a fan of any than two POVs but this book turned out to be a rare exception Maybe because Kingsolver spent the necessary time developing each individual character so none of the perspectives felt unnecessary or like filler I've spent a lot of time comparing this book to another I read recently A Thousand Splendid Suns They are both books about countries and cultures that I was only vaguely familiar with and they are both about a very specific turning point in each country's history And while they are both good in my opinion they are also two very different kinds of novels A Thousand Splendid Suns is a fast paced emotional dramatic page turner that has you constantly on the edge of your seat I read it in a single day and wanted to recommend it to every person who hadn't read it The Poisonwood Bible on the other hand is a slower complex demanding work that is even satisfying when you look back over it and observe its clever details as a whole It's not for everyone and I'm sure my Empire and Decolonization course helped prepare me somewhat for it Ultimately I really liked how Kingsolver uses the different perspectives to take on the different attitudes to postcolonialism For me this is a clever and thought provoking novel that goes beyond what many other books of its kind have achieved

  3. says:

    In late 1950s Congo an American missionary arrives with his family intent on bringing enlightenment to the savages The experiences of the family are told by the preacher’s wife Orleanna and their four daughters the vain Rachel twins Leah who is devoted to her father and Adah damaged at birth but aware than anyone realizes and the baby Ruth Ann The events take place during a period when Congo was eager to cast off its colonial chains and we see some details of events of the timeBarbara Kingsolver from the GuardianThis is a tale not merely about a missionary family in an alien land but about learning to see what is in plain sight It is about opening the mind and the heart We learn about the local culture good and bad as well as about the s of the missionaries The father is presented as a mindless faith robot determined to convert the heathen while being completely clueless about and uninterested in learning how to actually communicate with them I would have preferred it had this character been given some dimension instead of serving as a stand in for the arrogance of western cultural imperialism His family is given a better shake Through Orleanna’s and the girls eyes we see not only their private struggles and coming of age but gain insight into and information about the strange world into which they have been thrust Kingsolver reminds us of the time period with small portraits of local involvement in the independence movement I expect that there will be those who reject the novel because it takes an anti imperialist and anti missionary perspective ignoring the aspects of the tale that are critical of local practices as well But I did not react to this book as a political screed There is great craft at work here Kingsolver offers poetic descriptions that I found extremely beautiful rich and moving Her main characters were well realized and accessible and she succeeded nicely in giving each a very individual voice The path along which she moves her characters made sense to me and only rarely did I have a tough time accepting her authorial choices Overall this is a terrific book well crafted informative and satisfyingFor any interested in learning about the history of the Congo particularly as it pertains to Belgium’s role there is no better read than Adam Hochschild ‘s King Leopold’s Ghost an outstanding telling of that storyEXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal Twitter and FB pagesReviews of other Kingsolver books The Lacuna Flight Behavior Unsheltered

  4. says:

    I read this over a two day span in college when I was home for winter break We had a power outage so I found the sunniest room in the house and read all day Although I prefer Kingsolver's works about the American southwest this remains one of the most fascinating books I have ever read

  5. says:

    “ The forest eats itself and lives forever” Image “The Trees Have Eyes” by Angela WrightThere is magic in these pages Not the supernatural kind Not the magical realism kind But magic of language and of the TARDIS kind by some strange sorcery many huge themes are thoroughly but lightly explored in single volume that is beautiful harrowing exciting tender occasionally humorous and very approachable“ We messengers of goodwill adrift in a sea of mistaken intentions”Freedom and Forgiveness“ I was lodged in the heart of darkness I cowered beside my cage and though my soul hankered after the mountain I found I had no wings”This is multi layered multi faceted and multi narrated But the many themes all concern the craving for freedom Freedom of individuals and of nations from exploitation superstition poverty hunger disease bad relationships and colonial oppressors When freedom is offered there is the difficulty of recognising it and having the courage to accept it In the final third the stories flow in separate channels yet the theme narrows to the idea that freedom reuires letting go Specifically we must forgive others and ourselves before we can be truly free Genesis The Revelation The Judges Bel and the Serpent Exodus Song of the Three Children and The Eyes in the Trees The seven sections are titled after pertinent books of the Bible or Apocrypha In 1959 a Baptist minister takes his wife and four daughters Rachel twins Leah and Adah and little Ruth May from suburban Georgia USA on a one year mission to a remote village in the Congo shortly before independence The first two thirds concern their departure arrival and year in Kilanga The remainder follows their diverging lives up to 1986 and beyond The final section is a slightly superfluous race through a couple of decades The narration switches between Orleanna the now elderly wifemother looking back and the four daughters nearer the now of that stage of the story All are independent minded and intelligent each with a distinctive voice which develops plausibly with the story except for the one Kingsolver probably least identifies with who becomes something of a caricature in middle age Each illustrates a different Western approach to Africa meidcal fix submissionimmersion political reform colonial paternalism They could easily just be stereotypes vicar's wife; the sweet sixteen caring about cosmetics and fashion; the nature loving religious tomboy; the silent thoughtful limping observer; the gregarious child but Kingsolver makes each uniuely believable and engaging especially mute Adah whose words are those of a sensuous awe struck and non judgemental poetNathan whose damaged psyche guilt and inflexible beliefs are the trigger for everything is only ever known through the words of the women he despises Unfair or karma? Giving him a single chapter would seem tokenistic and eual billing would unbalance the whole book I think the way Kingsolver has written it rectifies the imbalance of his long term power over the women in the story For Better or Worse“ The hardest work of every day was deciding once again to stay with my family They never even knew”Orleanna is married to a man who does not and probably never could love her She is pained that “The thing you love than this world grew from a devil’s seed” but loves her very different children regardless She wrestles with whether and how to leave Nathan considering the conseuences for the girls With hindsight she wonders what she was guilty of complicity loyalty stupefaction? But she was a victim too That abusive marriage is beautifully contrasted with a tender devoted couple They struggle for mere survival and are often forced apart sometimes for long periods but their love and commitment never waver As with freedom and forgiveness the difficulty is not merely finding love but recognising it and then daring to grasp it and cling to itThemesI expect different themes dominate depending on the individual circumstances of each reader I could write a whole review focusing on any one of these• The circle of life eating and being eaten survival “Alive nobody matters much in the long run But dead some men matter than others”• The butterfly effect “The sting of a fly can launch the end of the world” And “Every life is different because you passed this way”• Nature nurture how landscape shapes peoples despite their attempts to shape it• Sin original sin snakes sins of the Father and conseuences for individuals but also in terms of colonialism reparations freedom• Guilt judgement and privilege especially survivor guilt and white privilege Everyone here is burdened with guilt mostly of an unnecessary kind or degree “God doesn’t need to punish us He just grants us enough life to punish ourselves”• The Bible faith and loss of religion life insurance or life sentence; life jacket or straitjacket? Truth versus intention of the Bible and God• Language mistranslation misunderstanding wordplay especially Malapropisms circus mission for circumcision and palindromes and literalism – or not – in interpreting the Bible • Polysemy and poisonwood “Mbote means hello and goodbye both” Dundu is a kind of antelope a particular plant a hill or the “price you have to pay” The words of “baptism” and “to terrify” sound almost the same And most disastrously for Nathan bangala means most precious Jesus most insufferable – and poisonwood• Racism both ways• Opposites balance reversal palindromes mirrors yingyang pairs twins• Freedom liberty independence – and their cost• Education its importance and especially the need to understand rather than merely know “Our hardest task is teaching people to count on a future”• Clash of cultures “Africa swallowed the conueror’s music and sang a new song of her own” The need to adapt and the disastrous conseuences of not doing so “It’s like he’s trying to put rubber tires on a horse” but there are no horses in the Congo “The point I was trying to make was so true there was not even a good way to say it”• The role of women in their own right but also as wives and mothers• Consumerism agriculture colonialism war politics the environment• Listening watching eavesdropping “The Eyes in the Trees” by God animals and fellow humans alive and dead One of Rachel’s better Malapropisms is “false eye dolls”• Disability and identity Disability may “not be entirely one’s fault” but one should have the “good manners to act ashamed” in the face of “the arrogance of the able bodied” Yet being “cured” might not be a blessing• Change adaptation and finding one's true self the character development is really well done “To live is to be marked To live is to change To acuire the words of a story”• Love loyalty sacrifice hope• Symbolism prophesy foreboding Biblical of course but others too such as the “hope chests” the girls prepare for future marriage one sees no need one applies black borders one does it carefully and another doesn’t do it at all Also colonialism of Africa having parallels with individual peopleSensual and Synaesthetic uotes• She can feel the touch of his long curled tongue on the water's skin as if he were lapping from her hand• “Rainy season light in my eyes and Congo grit in my teeth”• “Emily Dickinson No snikcidy lime a contrary name with a sourgreen taste She liked herself best in darkness as do I• Bright fabrics “worn together in jangling mixtures that ring in my ears”• “Rattling words on the page calling my eyes to dance with them”• “Once every few years even now I catch the scent of Africa”• “While my husband’s intentions crystallized as rock salt the Congo breathed behind the curtain of the forest preparing to roll over us like a river”• “All those smells were so loud in my ears”• “The silk texture of that cool air the smell of Congolese earth curling its toes under a thatch of dead grass”Other uotes• Consecrate myself in the public library• “Here bodily damage is or less considered to be a by product of living not a disgrace I enjoy a benign approval that I have never ever known in Bethlehem Georgia”• “Sending a girl to college is like pouring water on your shoes”• “Whatever happens Father acts like it’s a movie he’s already seen and we’re just dumb for not knowing how it comes out”• “To save my sanity I learned to pad around hardship in soft slippers and try to remark on its good points”• “The buzzards rise from the leafless billboard tree and flap away like the sound of old black satin dresses beating together”• “I am the smooth elegant black cat who slips from the house as a liuid shadow With my own narrow shadow for a boat I navigate the streams of moonlight that run between shadow islands”• “The radio a live mass of wires oozing from his trunk a seething congregation of snakes”• “Yellow leaves littering the ground like a carpet rolled out for the approaching footsteps of the end of time”• “The sun hung low on the river seemingly reluctant to enter this strange day Then it rose redly into the purpled sky resembling a black eye”• “Chasing flames that passed hungrily over the startled grass”• “As long as I kept moving my grief streamed out behind me like a swimmer's long hair in water I knew the weight was there but it didn't touch me”• Even in solitude there are “exploding moments” of unexpected “companionship and joy” such as “A kiss of flesh coloured sunrise while I hung out the washing a sigh of indigo birds exhaled from the grass”• “By X I was shattered and assembled by way of X I am delivered not out of my life but through it Love changes everything” Inadvertently echoing Nathan’s belief that God delivers us not from suffering but through it• “I recite the Periodic Table like a prayer; I take my exams as Holy Communion and the passing of the first semester was a sacrament”• “Carry us marry us ferry us bury us those are our four ways to exodus for now”For a very different take on the missionary experience see Michel Faber's interplantary The Book of Strange New Things reviewed HEREImage source “The Trees Have Eyes” by Angela Wright

  6. says:

    I had a hard time choosing between 2 and 3 stars really it should be 25 I thought the prose was uite lovely; Kingsolver has a nice voice I enjoyed reading about a part of the world of which I have no experience The description of the clash of cultures was well done However The author had an agenda and she really didn't mind continually slapping us in the face with it Now I don't pretend the US hasn't made mistakes and won't continue on making mistakes But to euate one group of people with only one characteristic American greedy capitalistic devil and another group with the entirely opposite characteristic African naive innocent angel is not just a little prejudicial Please people in general have a little depth than that In fact I would assume that the only evil African was Mobutu who I interpreted was probably OK until corrupted by America and the only really good American was Leah since she ended up reviling the US And as for one dimensional characters I wish that Kingsolver had had at least one chapter in Nathan Price's voice We are meant to hate him and I did I wanted him to get eaten by a leopard or have someone hit him over the head with a shovel Yet we got glimpses into his personality before WWII and got hints that he has scars as well Why was he the way he was? What went on in his mind? For the person who most affected the major characters' lives we end up knowing remarkably little about him other than that he was a despicable man I felt that Kingsolver meant him to represent evil how could he not be as not only white and Christian but a man to boot? and decided that he needed no explanation than thatOverall a very enlightening book but I think a non fiction and slightly objective book on the topic would have had a much bigger impact on me than the story Kingsolver tried to craft around the obviously heartbreaking struggle of the Congolese

  7. says:

    5 epic no wonder this book is so well loved stars to The Poisonwood Bible ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Review of the audio 🎧 The Price family including minister father Nathan mother Orleanna and four daughters traveled to the Belgian Congo in the late 1950s to serve a Baptist mission The mom and daughters are the narrators and I enjoyed the audio narrator’s voices for each of the characters even her southern accent wasn’t too off the mark I do have to warn for audio fans there were so many characters and voices making it hard for me to keep track with just the audio I will most definitely be reading this book in the future once I’ve forgotten a little The writing was atmospheric without being overly detailed The characters were as round as round could be I felt all kinds of emotions while listening There was tragedy there was joy but overall the tone was somber and much of that was due to the political stirrings in Congo at the time as well as due to Nathan’s harsh enforcement of his interpretations of the Bible The book was epic in proportions because it covered this entire family over a long period of time and not a stone was left unturned Overall I enjoyed every bit of it A couple sidenotes This book has been languishing on my shelf un read since Oprah chose it for her book club I’m so glad I finally read it This was a Traveling Sister read which I enjoyed immensely 💕 As I read the book I wondered how the author thought up all this story The Author’s Note explained it in detail

  8. says:

    Reviewing in the face of the great billows of love projected towards this novel is a hapless task your hat blows off and your eyes get all teary and if you say one wrong thing small children run out of nowhere and stone you or just bite your calves So I shall this one time sheathe my acid uill But I can't resist just a couple of little points though 1 you have to suspend great balefuls of disbelief These kids they're awfully highfalutin with their fancy flora and fauna and fitful forensic philosophising And the mother is worse you can see where they get it from2 I don't care for the historical novelfilm cliche where a character rushes in and clues us up to the bigger picture Have you heard Sophie? War has broken out between the Austro Hungarian Empire and the Turks the English fleet has just been sunk the king has fled and we have a new Pope Why Sir Marmalade Gin Rummy you don't say so and how is the ueen? The ueen has syphilis and now barks like a very dog etc etc 3 For 350 pages the writing is lovely and the recreation of one tiny corner of the Congo convinced me Ah if it was only all like that then we could remain friends and there would be no tears before bedtime4 After that it goes really wrong I mean seriously 5 But 350 pages can't be denied It's than you get from most books

  9. says:

    RACHELI am the oldest sister and a typical teenage girl oh jeez oh man All I want is to go back to Georgia and kiss boys outside the soda bar but instead here I am stuck in the Congo with unconditioned hair and ants and caterpillars and scary but with a heart of gold black people Jeez Louise the life of a missionary's daughter Also I make a whole lot of hilarious Malabarisms that's just one of the tenants of my faith There's two of them now Man oh manLEAHThe other day Anatole rushed into our hut all excited about news from the wider world ‘Great events are underway Miss Price’ he said ‘Oh really?’ I asked wondering if he would do for a love interest ‘What's happening?’Anatole took a deep breath ‘Well in the fallout from the Léopoldville riots the report of a Belgian parliamentary working group on the future of the Congo was published in which a strong demand for internal autonomy was noted August de Schryver the Minister of the Colonies launched a high profile Round Table Conference in Brussels in January 1960 with the leaders of all the major Congolese parties in attendance Lumumba who had been arrested following riots in Stanleyville was released in the run up to the conference and headed the MNC L delegation The Belgian government had hoped for a period of at least 30 years before independence but Congolese pressure at the conference led to 30 June 1960 being set as the date Issues including federalism ethnicity and the future role of Belgium in Congolese affairs were left unresolved after the delegates failed to reach agreement’ he said‘Well I guess that's us brought up to date then’ I sighed Anatole folded up his printout from Wikipedia and left the hutADAHSunrise unties blue skies clockwise Pinot noir caviar mid sized car Roseanne Barr I have a slightly deformed body and I Do Not Speak which means I have time for deep ponderous internal monologues and wordplay Ponder Red nop That's my thing – I say words backwards Ti t'nsi gniyonna? For you see each of us Price girls needs a distinctive stylistic tic otherwise we'd all sound exactly the same Bath sack cock cash tab There's a palindrome for you No nasal task Congo – loud duolog nocks Atlas anon Good luck finding a profound thematic message in one of these But if I run out of them I guess I could always just go through the nearest Kikongo dictionary for material flips to page 342 Nkusu means ‘parrot’ but nkusi means ‘fart’ Hmmm I wonder how many paragraphs I can get out of that?RUTH MAYI am just a widdle girl I don't understand half of the things I see around me which is just as well given all the conflict diamonds and CIA agents I keep stumbling on I play with all the children in the village even though I have no toys which is sad If one of the village children dies it's just as sad and tragic as if one of us cute little white girls dies Well not really obviously otherwise the whole book would have been about a Congolese family in the first place but maybe if I keep saying it you'll at least think about it for a couple of minutes Daddy doesn't seem to like the Congolese at all Our daddy is such a big meanie He loves god a whole bunch but he's just awful to Mother and my sisters He's just the nastiest ogre you can imagine ’Course I guess he probably wouldn't see things that way That's why we don't let him narrate any chapters of his own

  10. says:

    People love this book and I think I understand why It's got a collection of strong characters each chapter is written from a different character's point of view and it's set in Africa which is exciting But there are a few reasons I don't think it's great literature The main things I expect from a good novel are a that the writer doesn't manipulate her characters for her agenda b that the characters' actions are consistent to the world the writer has created for them c good tight prose and d the characters are nuanced and aren't entirely perfect or hideous In this novel the father character is entirely hideous and the mother and each daughter represent a plight of some kind Their existence is to present arguments for and against lots of important issues in Africa but for me that kind of thing is an extremely dissatisfying fiction experience I suppose there is an argument for fictionalizing reality in order to make it palatable and invite a larger audience to your cause but I don't think this novel is successful in that regard I found it overly preachy critical and completely disrespectful to its characters whom I believe deserve a better story in which to thrive

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