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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Engaging Parable for a Real Problem
I have read all of Barbara Kingsolver's novels and, in my opinion, this one is her best. Five different female perspectives are given of a family's Baptist missionary conquest in the Belgian Congo. Their experience in a remote African village affects the characters, all in different ways, for the rest of their lives. Generally their accounts are dark and somewhat...
Veröffentlicht am 11. Juni 2000 von Alison Bruce

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Fabulous language, too overt
I had been told to expect this book to be slow to begin with and then become a "can't put down". I found the opposite. I immediately loved the langauge and the style of writing. I looked forward to returning to each daughter's story to get her perspective on events. It make me think about what progress and civilization are and whether one culture can...
Veröffentlicht am 28. Juli 2000 von Janice


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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Engaging Parable for a Real Problem, 11. Juni 2000
I have read all of Barbara Kingsolver's novels and, in my opinion, this one is her best. Five different female perspectives are given of a family's Baptist missionary conquest in the Belgian Congo. Their experience in a remote African village affects the characters, all in different ways, for the rest of their lives. Generally their accounts are dark and somewhat frightening but cleverly Kingsolver uses the voice of Rachel, the eldest daugther, to provide satirical comic relief.
The Poisonwood Bible has been frequently criticized for evolving from a well developed and interesting story into a political diatribe. I thought, however, that perhaps Kingsolver was attempting to draw parallels between the actions of one man's religious mission and the intrusion of global superpowers in Africa. Both were manipulative, self serving, and had calamitous results. I believe Kingsolver's intention was to describe the effects of foreign interference on a small scale to illustrate what a disasterous impact western influence has upon Africa on a macro level.
Kingsolver was able to combine a powerful fictious story and use it to help the reader understand the travesty of what much of Africa is presently enduring and why. The read is engaging and exciting while, at the same time, informative and enlightening.
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Erzähltechnik vom Feinsten, 14. Oktober 2001
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Poisonwood Bible (Taschenbuch)
Barbara Kingsolver ist eine Meisterin ihres Fachs. Ihre Erzählweise fesselt an jede Zeile des Buches. Man will immer mehr erfahren. Auf keinem Fall will man sich ihrer poetischen Wörterzusammensetzungen entziehen.
Aus der Sicht der Frauen der Price Familie wird diese Familiensaga erzählt, wodurch man als Leser mehrere Perspektiven der gleichen Erfahrung miterlebt. Die Erfahrung als amerikanische Töchter und Ehefrau eines Reverend im unbekannten und zunächst sehr fremden Kongo als Missionare zu landen entlockt den vier Töchtern des Hauses keineswegs die gleichen Empfindungen.
Obwohl das Leben im Kongo nicht einfach ist und keinesfalls bei allen Mitgliedern der Price Familie gleichermassen positiv aufgenommen wird, ist der Kongo stets ein Teil aller Price Mitglieder, sogar lange nach dem Kongo.
Ein sehr empfehlenswerter Roman. Nach "Animal Dream" ein weiterer Höhepunkt Kingsolvers.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Storytelling, 18. September 2002
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Poisonwood Bible (Taschenbuch)
A real five-star-book: excellent and gripping story (US missionary familiy with zelot-father, who come to the Congo at the edge of the independence) and innovative storytelling (the story is told from the view of the daughters and the wife). If you have a little bit of a feel for Africa and like a real novel (ie developements of characters and not only some action), get it and you won't regret it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen abridged NY Review, 31. Juli 2000
Von 
Sean Leckey (Staten Island, NY USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
The phrase ''heart of darkness'' occurs only once, as far as I can tell, in Barbara Kingsolver's haunting new novel, ''The Poisonwood Bible.'' When it does, it falls from the mouth of Orleanna Price, a Baptist missionary's wife who uses it to describe not the Belgian Congo, where she, her husband and their four daughters were posted in 1959, but the state of her marriage in those days and the condition of what she calls ''the country once known as Orleanna Wharton,'' wholly occupied back then by Nathan Price, aforesaid husband and man of God.
Joseph Conrad's great novella flickers behind her use of that phrase, and yet it doesn't. Orleanna is not a quoting woman, and for the quoting man in the family, her strident husband, there can be only one source -- the Bible, unambiguous and entire, even in a land that demonstrates daily the suppleness of language. ''Tata Jesus is bangala!''he shouts during his African sermons. It never occurs to him that in Kikongo, a language in which meaning hangs on intonation, bangala may mean '''precious and dear,'' but it also means the poisonwood tree -- a virulent local plant -- when spoken in the flat accent of an American zealot.
The Prices are Nathan and Orleanna and their daughters: Ruth May, the youngest; Rachel, the oldest, a pale blond Mrs. Malaprop of a teen-ager; and the twins, Leah and Adah. Both twins are gifted, but Adah suffers from hemiplegia, which leaves her limping and nearly speechless. The female members of the family narrate ''The Poisonwood Bible'' in turn. Orleanna does so in retrospect, from her later years on Sanderling Island, off the coast of Georgia. The girls, however, tell their story from the Congo as it happens, on the precipice of events, like an epistolary novel written from a place with no postal service and no hope of pen pals.
Nathan Price narrates nothing. And yet his certitude -- and the literal-minded ferocity with which he expresses it -- is the altar around which these women arrange themselves. We already know his story, Kingsolver implies. Most of what we have always heard, she suggests, are stories told by men like him. ''The Poisonwood Bible'' thus belongs to the women, and it is a story about the loss of one faith and the discovery of another, for each woman according to her kind. As Adah, so bright, so willing to torque the mother tongue, puts it, ''One god draws in the breath of life and rises; another god expires.''
The Congo permeates ''The Poisonwood Bible,'' and yet this is a novel that is just as much about America, a portrait, in absentia, of the nation that sent the Prices to save the souls of a people for whom it felt only contempt, people who already, in the words of a more experienced missionary, ''have a world of God's grace in their lives, along with a dose of hardship that can kill a person entirely.'' The Congolese are not savages who need saving, the Price women find, and there is nothing passive in their tolerance of missionaries. They take the Americans' message literally -- elections are good, Jesus too -- and expose its contradictions by holding an election in church to decide whether or not Jesus shall be the personal god of Kilanga. Jesus loses.
And yet, for all its portraiture of place, its reflexive political vitriol, its passionate condemnation of Nathan Price, ''The Poisonwood Bible'' is ultimately a novel of character, a narrative shaped by keen-eyed women contemplating themselves and one another and a village whose familiarity it takes a tragedy to discover. Rachel is the epitome of America's material culture, a cunning, brainless girl who parodies television commercials and says of Eeben Axelroot, ''I'm willing to be a philanderist for peace, but a lady can only go so far where perspiration odor is concerned.'' Ruth May, the baby, is the innocent whose words betray the guilty; she is the catalyst that splits the Price family apart. ''The Poisonwood Bible'' turns on several axes, and one of them is Leah's struggle to rebalance herself morally when she finally realizes exactly who her father is. Once she had said, ''My father wears his faith like the bronze breastplate of God's foot soldiers, while our mother's is more like a good cloth coat with a secondhand fit.'' But when the armor fell, she saw that Nathan Price's ''blue eyes with their left-sided squint, weakened by the war, had a vacant look. His large reddish ears repelled me. My father was a simple, ugly man.''
All the Prices adapt to the Congo, in their way, but Adah and Leah are carried farthest in their adaptation. Rachel accomplishes this by not adapting at all. ''The way I see Africa,'' she says, ''you don't have to like it but you sure have to admit it's out there. You have your way of thinking and it has its, and never the train ye shall meet!'' For Adah, adaptation comes in the form of unforgiving self-discovery, the realization that ''even the crooked girl believed her own life was precious.''
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A stunning and powerful story., 17. März 2000
I didn't want to read this book. And even after I began reading it, it did not pull me in for several chapters. But after the first time around, through each of the voices, the characters came clearly into focus, and I was lost. Even now, days after finishing the book, I remain in the spell it cast.
Kingsolver presents this experience of an uprooted middle-American family desperately trying to adapt to life in the Congo from 5 different points of view - a mother, and each of her 4 very different daughters. Similarly to Pears' technique in An Instance of the Fingerpost, Kingsolver tells a part of the story from each different viewpoint. Like Pears, each of her narrators has a strong, clear, very real personality. But Kingsolver outdoes Pears in that each of her narrators has a characteristic voice all her own. Orleanna is a desperate and naive young mother, striving to keep her children well. Rachel is the self-centered beauty queen, Leah is an earnest, brilliant tomboy, Adah is Leah's crippled, bitter, perhaps more brilliant twin, and then there is little Ruth May, bossy and competitive. Each one's different perspective meshes with the others' to create a complete and engrossing picture of the whole.
In the unfolding of the drama, there is a wealth of sensory detail, and plenty of humor to offset plenty of tragedy. The incongruous differences in social outlook, and the endless language difficulties make for lots of laughs, as well as some of the biggest tragedies.
Someone should slap Alix Wilber for calling Kingsolver's presentation of her philosophical and political viewpoint a "weakness". The message in this book is actually a social one, and isn't that one of the responsibilities of art? And whose viewpoint should she write from, if not her own? But the political message is anything but strident; the message and the story are entirely intertwined, each enhancing the other.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An all-around wonderful book and a great read!, 3. Juni 1999
Von Ein Kunde
In The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver has painted a broad and deep fictional portrait of a family of innocents abroad in a very real world they neither control nor - at least initially - understand. She has also painted a very clear picture of that world as it actually existed and unfolded. Although it is possible to quibble with certain aspects of the telling of this story, I nevertheless found this to be compelling and deeply satisfying reading. The author tells the story of a rural American religious missionary whose personal demons lead him to drag his family of five women (a long-suffering wife and four young daughters) off to the African interior (the Belgian Congo) in 1959. The story is told through the women's voices, and very distinctive voices they are. One is intentionally obtuse and materialistic and consistently quite irritating, the others varied, interesting and generally quite perceptive in their own ways. The history of the world in which the characters find themselves is itself at least as complex as any of the characters themselves, and is - in my moderately educated opinion on the subject - true to the actual course of modern African history. The novel, in fact, pulls no punches in describing the nature and consequences of Western (and especially American) involvement in Africa through much of the period from first contact through at least the mid-20th Century, and this is likely to stick in the throats of readers who like their history sugar-coated. Ms. Kingsolver has brought recognizable and articulate American sensibilities to a clear-eyed story of private and public betrayals of trust and, in so doing, has done her readership a real service. She has also told a wonderful story. If some of her readers are uncomfortable with that, then so be it. Thank you, Barbara.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Fabulous language, too overt, 28. Juli 2000
Von 
Janice (Saskatoon, SK Canada) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
I had been told to expect this book to be slow to begin with and then become a "can't put down". I found the opposite. I immediately loved the langauge and the style of writing. I looked forward to returning to each daughter's story to get her perspective on events. It make me think about what progress and civilization are and whether one culture can determine what that is for another. And then, in the last third of the book, the author decided we just couldn't get the point without being hit in the head with a hammer. Many authors have attempted to educate westerners about the culture of others and the effect of outside interference and political policies, but they have done it in more subtle ways that really make you examine your beliefs and perspective. Does Ms. Kingsolver lack the skill or just the will? I did enjoy the writing enough to try another of her books, hopefully she'll give me the benefit of the doubt and assume I am intelligent enough to draw my own conclusions.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Unusual story and characters, but not my favorite Kingsolver, 20. Juli 2000
Von 
Ellen Isaacs (San Francisco Bay Area, CA USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
This book takes place in the Congo in the 1960s, when the country was fighting for independence from Belgium. It centers around Nathan & Orleana Price and their four daughters, who go there from Atlanta to do missionary work. The story shows how Nathan, blinded by his mindless determination to force the villagers to adopt his ways, never gets a clue about the people and the culture he has transplanted himself into. At the same time, he completely misunderstands his own family, and refuses to leave when they come in danger. He's is completely out of touch, and each of the women in his family learn to adapt in different ways. But the book is more about the four daughters and how they grow from that world-changing first year in the Congo into adults.
Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of the four daughters or the mother, which I found an interesting and effective device to help us understand the characters, both through their own eyes and through each other's eyes. The characters themselves are interesting and very different from each other, and I enjoyed getting to know them. One is an insecure prima donna, another a liberal intellectual, another a brilliant girl who is paralyzed on half of her body, and the other a carefree child. However, at the same time, I felt somewhat removed from what was going on in the Congo, and had a hard time piecing together the political events that affected them so dramatically. Over the course of the book, it becomes more important to understand the external events, so I found that I lost a connection with the characters. In the last third of the book, we follow the characters through adulthood, and I found I didn't really understand the different choices they made as well as I would have liked. Although I still enjoyed their story, I didn't feel, as I had in Kingsolver's other books, a real connection with the characters in a way that affected me personally. This book felt more distant.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen make that 3 1/2 stars, 17. Juli 2000
The opening was a lucious, fluid river of words that swept right through me: an emense relief after reading choppier, less descriptive works (e.i. jk rowling). The desription in this book is incredible and full of colorful comparisons that vividly illustrate the Congo. The first half of the book (written in 5 different points of view) recalls the arrival and settling in the congo of a Georgian missionary family, led by bible-thumping head-of the-family "Our Father" Nathan Price. Nathan's early attempts to "save" the villagers backfire on him (mothers refuse to have their children baptized in the river because of alligators) due to his extreme misunderstanding of the African culture: he sees the congolese as little children who must be punished for ignorance along with his own daughters. Meanwhile, his wife and four daughters go through famine, ants, fever, and flood to keep the house standing and feed the master. How long can they stand it? This question alone is enough to keep the reader up until 3 am flipping pages frantically. Then comes the fiery climax and tragic disaster....
...and after that, an even more tragic disaster in which the book becomes hopelessly longwinded, political, and pointless. Thirty years pass at about ten years for every four pages. The characters age, but on the whole don't change after the climax. Or change too much. Preteens become mothers with kids in college before you can bat an eye-(being a teen myself, I found this wholy unnerving and could no longer connect with the characters). the only thing that kept this book from recieving 5 stars instead of 3 1/2 was the fact that it didn't simply end after a certain character's death. One final unpolished gem: the final chapter. Though it desperately needed trimming back (just like the entire 2nd half of the book)it left me feeling breathless. This chapter (set in the omnipresent eyes of someone I was waiting to speak again) establishes the importance of animals in the story as symbolism of change. The okapi, the lion, the ants, the green mamba, the eyes in the trees.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Lovely, Imperfect Gem, 15. Juli 2000
Von 
R. M. Calitri (California,USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Barbara Kingsolver is finally receiving the attention she deserves for her impressive novel The Poisonwood Bible. I read this book last year because I'd just returned from spending five weeks in East Africa and missed the people and the country.
This novel tells the engrossing story of quirky, feverish Baptist preacher Nathan Price who hauls his family off on a mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. The story's narration is shared by his wife Orleanna and their four daughters, ages 5 - 15, who seem much too tender and naive to survive the trials of harsh conditions, poor housing, language barriers, cultural clashes, and natural antagonists. What results is an absorbing story set against the backdrop of political and religious upheaval.
Kingsolver's writing in this book proves what can happen when a writer continues to pursue her craft. The work is impressively mature compared to earlier cute novels like The Bean Trees and shows her flare and passion and growth as a writer. The narrative voices are distinct and engaging except for 15 year old Rachel's whose heartsickness for American pop culture is somewhat irritating because of the stretches the writer makes to show Rachel's shallow nature. For example, at first Rachel's malaprops are entertaining, but read against the seriousness of several occurences, the writing sounds forced. Nevertheless, Kingsolver's narrators are living voices most readers will very much enjoy.
I loved this book in spite of its flaws--the characterization of Rachel, the plausibility of some of the Congolese people's actions, and Kingsolver's political analysis/overview. The last fifth of the book is laborious as the writer strives to incorporate Congolese political history, and such writing is not where Kingsolver's strengths are. She is a craftsperson, a creative writer--one who loves the poetics and muscle of English--not a political analyst. Readers should begin this book knowing this because the heart of it is wrought with passion, Biblical double entendres, and enjoyable characters in a fantastic and important setting. Kingsolver's ambitious research has produced an important novel with more strengths than weaknesses as she's given deserved focus to precious central Africa--as the world should have and should be doing now.
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The Poisonwood Bible
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