The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara KingsolverThe Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

byBarbara Kingsolver

Paperback | July 5, 2005

Pricing and Purchase Info

$17.37 online 
$21.00 list price save 17%
Earn 87 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


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.
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 transf...
Title:The Poisonwood Bible: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:576 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.92 inPublished:July 5, 2005Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060786507

ISBN - 13:9780060786502

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great historical fiction Loved the historical pieces that overlay the plot. Interesting character development.
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another stellar book from Kingsolver Love love loved this book! Barbara Kingsolver is a phenomenal author. Highly recommend. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not an easy read Interesting historical aspects; one of the first books to be framed from alternate points of view; yet, sometimes the points don't easily come together and you need to really want to stick it out to pull everything through.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History Lesson An intriguing story of a missionary minister and his family trying to survive in the Congo. I liked the story, amd learned a lot of history at the same time. The characters leap off the page and the story sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading. First rate writing by Kingsolver.
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books I really enjoyed this book, I liked the writing style and the story was very interesting.
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very well character development and storyline! Recommend! This was a very interesting story. I haven't read anything quite like it and I feel it was well portrayed and the characters were really well developed. You got to understand how each of them felt and in certain situations and you really got to sympathize with them. However, I do find that the storyline itself could have been more and better developed and thorough to properly understand all the consequences/repercussions/situations and really bring the story to another level. There were a lot of plot twists that I had not expected and it is a very realistic story is regard to drug use and a lot of people can learn from it. Overall, this was a very good story that I recommend, if not for the story itself, then for the message it sends.
Date published: 2018-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful I didn't think this book would grab me the way it did but I am so glad that I read it. It's such a moving and beautiful book. This book is just written so well and the characters are so real that you just end up living in their stories.
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Changed the way I think Deal with blame, moral responsibility, corruption, and scores of other meaningful themes. One of my favourite books because of its style and message. It's a long read, but you won't be able to put it down.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing The writing is incredible, the story powerful, the characters true to life. Loved it.
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I LOVED THIS BOOK I borrowed this from a cousin and thought it looked too big and perhaps was boring but I was sooo wrong on that. I loved the concept of each daughter of the missionaries that go to Africa telling their own spin on life in the Congo. It shows both the beauty and the horror for ppl growing up there in a very tumultous time. I couldn't put it down and I learned about the history of Congo.
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of my favourites I love this book. Well written and well developed. I usually find it difficult to follow along in a book that is written from different characters' perspectives but this one flowed very well. Definitely recommend!
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I enjoyed reading this book so much. Reading from the perspective of each character really gives you a sense of their unique challenges and emotions. Beautifully written.
Date published: 2017-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Superb! Great story and characters, super narrative, overall wonderful!
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Classic for a reason This book is simply amazing. The characters are vivid and relatable, despite their relatively unrelatable setting, and the morale of cultural understanding and relativism is outstanding. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites ever! Such a great examination of the different ways in which outsiders try and control, make sense, escape, or integrate into a place they really don't understand. It skewers the idea of missionaries (or in a more contemporary sense, aid workers) going in to 'fix' or 'educate' people they perceive as less sophisticated. Also a great way to learn some of the history of the DRC, a country who people have truly suffered and been misunderstood up to the current day.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal book Used this book for my final English project in high school years ago. Re-read it this year and it was just as excellent as the first time I read it.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! This book is masterfully written
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating This book took me to Africa along with the characters and left me with a new appreciation for anyone who has ever had to move across the world and trying to adapt.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love! I have had this book since i was a teenager and have read it multiple times. Great read!
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books of all time This is masterfully written, and uses the structure of multiple perspectives so well, when usually I hate that style. The images are vivid and the story thought-provoking. I still reflect on the character Ada and it has been four years since I first read this book.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved, loved, loved this book!!! An absorbing book from page 1 right to the very end. Definitely in my all time Top 5 or 10 list of favourite books.
Date published: 2016-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best of the year One of the best books I've read in the past year. I was especially captured by the first chapter. An engrossing read.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lives forever changed I am late to the game in reading this book just now. I remember all the hype from years ago when the novel was a best seller. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Told from 5 different perspectives, the novel provided a lot of insight into life in Zaire, the former Congo, and how 4 young girls and their mother's lives were forever changed by decisions made by their Baptist father and his missionary work. I was surprised that spending a year and a bit in the Congo so severely changed the lives of these young Americans. The things they must have seen/endured. I found the history lesson information, the changing narratives of interest and on the whole, the story was told in a very emotion-less matter-of-fact sort of way, which I felt improved the telling.
Date published: 2014-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible Definitely one of my favourite books ever! Reading it for a second time after a few years and enjoying it all over again!
Date published: 2013-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really liked this The Price family moved from Georgia to the Congo in the late 1950s as missionaries. They had four daughters, three in their early teens. Rachel is the oldest and a bit of a princess, really only concerned with fashion. Leah and Adah are twins, only a year younger than Rachel. Both are very smart girls, but Adah doesn't talk due to a defect from before birth; Adah is also slower and has a limp. Ruth May is the youngest. The telling of the story of their time in the Congo (and dealing with their overbearing father) alternates between all four of the girls' points of view, plus occasionally their mother's POV is added in, but from the “current” day, looking back, whereas the girls' points of view are told from the time they are there. I thought this was really good. It is long, but I was interested. I even enjoyed reading Rachel's POV; though she's not a very likeable character, I enjoyed reading her view because it was entertaining and amusing, as she's not the brightest bulb so would make some amusing vocabulary errors. Adah was interesting due to the word games she would play. My favourite character (though I think she took a bit of time to grow on me at the start) was Leah. I wasn't as interested in their mother's point of view the occasional time that was inserted. Overall, though, I found the story very interesting – both the Price family story and learning a bit of the history of the time and place.
Date published: 2013-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible A good book with a great story that really keeps you thinking long after you have finished it. I'm still figuring things out about it. Religion and missionary work is the general storyline and how one family fits into the work and adapting to a new lifestyle in Congo. The story is told from each of the family members point of view.
Date published: 2012-04-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wonderful! This was recommended to me by a used book shopkeeper when I mentioned I was leaving for a long trip to Africa. Though it was a rather large book to transport, I do not regret fitting it into my backpack and leaving it at a hostel for an other traveler. The writing was very simple, never boring, and kept me entertained. A missionary, his wife and four children are sent to Congo to assimilate the native people to the Christian religion. Each chapter is narrated by one of the four daughter's as they tell the difficulties of living and growing up under such a different environment. The father, Nathan, is abusive and seems to be suffering post-traumatic stress in regards to serving in WWII and fleeing it. He feels the need to fill his regret and cowardliness of the war by attempting to spread the word of God, even though it puts his whole family at danger. I could keep going on forever on how entertaining and insightful of a read this was, but I wish to leave the rest to the next reader. Quick warning: This was a tear-jerker... Well for me anyway.
Date published: 2012-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book I love The Poisonwood Bible. Barbara Kingsolver has a really lovely style of writing and I was completely engrossed in the story line. I really 'felt' these characters and at times felt heartache for them. A beautiful book that I highly recommend.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic!! About a family of missionaries who go to Africa... This is about a family - the father is a missionary and he takes his wife, Orleanna and his 4 daughters to Africa in the 1950`s - to the Congo, to be specific. It is written in a very interesting manner - chapters are written in the first-person and alternate between the perspectives of the 4 daughters. There are a few chapters written with the mother, Orleanna, as the main character, however it is primarily from the perspectives of the 4 daughters - all very different and interesting characters. I think that what I liked best about the book is what I mentioned above - that made it interesting - to see what was going on in the village, from different perspectives as well as we got to know the personalities of the different daughters - and I started to feel well-connected to them. I think that author did a really wonderful job at that. The stories of the culture and people in the Congo was the other aspect that I found very interesting, and enjoyable. It depicts a different culture, and insights into how a language can really just be an extension of a people - as the different languages used by the Congolese people. It also shows that despite some very traumatizing events, people are who they are. Events are shown to shape the futures of some of the lives of the daughters, in ways that one would not expect. I loved this book, and found it extremely enjoyable.
Date published: 2011-11-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Be Warned: Big time-waster!!! For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this book got such high praise. All one has to do is pick up The Covenant by Mitchener and Heart of Darkness by Conrad and you'll have read something far superior on a similar subject ---don't know if I'll even bother finishing it
Date published: 2008-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly fantastic! I really didn't know what to expect with this book and I think I only bought it because it was an Oprah Book Club pick at the time. I was pleasantly surprised though, and truly enjoyed the story. The book is set in Africa, Congo I believe, during a time of extreme civil unrest. Not knowing anything of this particular point in history, it was fascinating viewing it from the perspective of a missionary family who had travelled there to bring religion to the area. I really enjoyed how the author followed up with the characters years after they left Africa to see the impact that living there had had on the various family members' lives. The book is also written by a different character for each chapter and it is a unique way of presenting the story. You may think that this would be confusing, but I did not find it so. This book is definitely worth a read!
Date published: 2008-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Unforgettable Journey Having read this book, it is easy to understand how it has become such a bestseller. A beautifully written story that forces us to consider how far one will go in the name of religion. The Poisonwood Bible tells the story of an evangelical Baptist minister who takes his wife, four daughters and his mission from a small town in Georgia to the Belgian Congo in 1959 and the unspeakable tragic consequences for the Price family as they confront the unstoppable forces of nature, and history.
Date published: 2008-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from on the top ten favourite books of all ten list This book is amazing. I absolutely loved it, and I've read a lot of books. Not only was the story phenomenal, but while you're reading it and after it's over, it makes you think. I found it life changing. Poisonwood Bible questions traditional vs. modern, nature vs. science.... It evokes emotion for the characters, has excellent character development... This book is real. I loved it.
Date published: 2008-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Discourse This book is a perfect read for a book club. Long though it may be, it deals with issues such as religion, innocence, humanity, culture and politics. Written through the eyes of five very different characters, it seems this world truly exists with all of its harsh realities.
Date published: 2008-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book This is an amazing book. The writing is wonderful, the characters seem so real you feel you know them and you get a real feel for the place and time. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2007-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The smell of Africa permeates the text. The voices of the wife and daughters of a rather dumb missionary in Africa tell the story and you feel as though you are there. When the local chief finally understood the first past the post democratic system of voting and walked into the church to call on a vote for or against God I laughed and laughed. Hope I don't get sent to hell.
Date published: 2007-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic!!! I think this has to be one of the most enchanting novels I have ever read. It is a story of an American family who try to rescue an African village from their own way of life. The cruel hardships they endure while in Africa have a lasting impact on their family. This is a MUST read.
Date published: 2007-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read for women If you are a female, you must read this novel. I have never read a story where the bonds of sisterhood and motherhood are presented so honestly, where you see bits of yourself in characters personalities, thoughts and actions. By the time I finished this novel, this family was as real to me as my own. I loved it.
Date published: 2006-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book!!! I could not put this book down from start to finish. I felt like I was feeling every emotion each characters was going through. Some parts even brought me to tears. I also like the fact that I learned a little bit more about the African Culture and thier way of life. This book is amazing, I would definately read it again and again.
Date published: 2006-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Put it on your "must read list" This is a book I will keep in my library and encourage my childern to read. Although the size may seem daunting to some it is well worth the effort. It is beautifully written, evoking a multitude of emotions. You will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2006-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Twisted religion At first i just read this book as a curious endever, but as i continued my joureny further into the world of this crazy minister and his family i was pulled into a universe of and upside down world. The bible almost seemed to pull this family in so far they couldnt escape it, the father was especially obsessed with the bible and making everyone around him believe "Jesus is bangala" even at the cost of his family's sanity and his youngist child's life. Eventually some of the family mambers escape this crazy conglese world and get back to america but cannot believe in religion ever again as a result. I loved this book made me look at religion in a new way, instead of just thinking religion is there and so is the bible and that's all fine and good. I started thinking maybe the bible means somthing else and is more of aa obsession then an acually religion, amybe people become so comsumed with it they cannot escape even if they wanted to. The poison wood bible is one of th best books i have ever read it is the one i check out the most from the library. I believe that everyone shoudl be sucked into the world of the poison wood bible.
Date published: 2006-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Summer Read Being a first time reader of Kingsolver I must say I was not disappointed. I read the book while on vacation this winter and was deeply moved by the characters. Rarely will a book ever bring me to tears but this one did. Not only was this book a great read but educated me on African culture and conspiracies which lead to the disruption in this country.
Date published: 2006-06-06

Editorial Reviews

“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)