*** The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (2000)

How I ever missed this book when it first came out is beyond me because to that point I’m sure I read all of Kingsolver’s books.  I didn’t read it until 2006, but it was worth the wait as I think it’s her best.  The writing is eloquent, absolutely precise in description.  It’s a story to make one question the role of missionaries and in some ways, organized religion itself (or at least fundamental adherents).  This would make a great pairing with Things Fall Apart in comparing the methods used by tunnel-visioned missionaries and they way their views and customs are received by locals.  Kingsolver never shies away from controversary, and her liberal views come through perhaps more clearly in this novel than any of her previous one.  Whether one agrees with her political and religious outlook, it’s hard not to love her writing.  (fiction)

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