Review: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The first step to reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible is to overlook the opening line: “Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened.” (5) The book is better and more coherent after this line.

The Poisonwood Bible follows the Price family into the Congo where they’re sent as missionaries in 1959. Nathan Price, the patriarch, is stubborn and bullish, alternately neglectful and abusive toward his wife and four daughters. He represents the worst type of missionary and struggles to gain influence. With a monthly stipend, the Prices are comparatively wealthy, but the payments are stopped when the Americans and Belgians are evacuated from the Congo as it declares independence. Despite making few inroads with the Congolese, Nathan Price refuses to allow his family to leave. read more

Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Five-hundred page books aren’t easy to read straight through, but Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things is a brilliant exception.

Back cover:
Called to a mission of a lifetime, Peter travels light-years from his wife, Bea, to an astonishing new environment. He’s to preach to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings. But when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate—natural disasters are rampant and governments are crumbling—her faith begins to falter. Peter, rattled and heartsick, is forced to choose: historic humanitarian work, or the love of his life.

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