Try free for 2 months

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.
The Poisonwood Bible cover art

The Poisonwood Bible

By: Barbara Kingsolver
Narrated by: Dean Robertson
Try for $0.00

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $35.99

Buy Now for $35.99

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

“A powerful new epic... [Kingsolver] 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

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.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers. 

©1998 by Barbara Kingsolver. (P)1998 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Haunting...A novel of character, a narrative shaped by keen-eyed women." (New York Times Book Review

"Beautifully written....Kingsolver's tale of domestic tragedy is more than just a well-told yarn.. Played out against the bloody backdrop of political struggles in Congo that continue to this day, it is also particularly timely." (People

"The book's sheer enjoyability is given depth by Kingsolver's insight and compassion for Congo, including its people, and their language and sayings." (Boston Globe)  

More from the same

What listeners say about The Poisonwood Bible

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    259
  • 4 Stars
    59
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    224
  • 4 Stars
    50
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    238
  • 4 Stars
    48
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

You will be mesmerised and scandalised and find yourself exultant and indignant by turns

I have found a new author to add to my list of favoured writers. In a novel that resonates with my own family's missionary history not in the Congo but in Australia's Arnhemland, Kingsolver writes a powerful story of the journey of a family and the nations created by European colonisers, monarchs, politicians and the world's new imperial power, the US. Kingsolver's writing transcends my own links to the Price family's story to pen an intricate, intriguing narrative of life experience that sees privation, tragedy, redemption. Kingsolver's five female voices are crafted with insight and the tools of a sculptor and, in the voicing of the audiobook version of the novel, Dean Robertson is ultimately convincing. Kingsolver writes simply and with simplicity but not simplistically. Like that amazing literary work of the early 17th C, the King James Bible, the author uses a colourful pallet of just a few of the many words available in English to write with transcendent narrative capacity. Read it to yourself or let Robertson read it to you; you will be mesmerised and scandalised and find yourself exultant and indignant by turns. My judgement of a truly good book is that, having been read once it must be re-read. This is such a book. Of an author, the same; I look forward with eager anticipation to my next Kingsolver novel.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A truly remarkable book

This book is exceptional and the narration supurb. A fascinating story of an American Baptist missionary family in the Congo during the political upheaval in the region during the 60's. Written mostly through the eyes of the children, and sometimes of the mother, this book is thought provoking, funny and wise. Bravo!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

Never having read Barbara Kingsolver before, I found her to be a literary treasure and will now go searching for her other books. Such a treat to learn something, be made to think and to be entertained, all in one book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning

This is an extraordinary story and the use of the first person from all the female characters point's of view works extremely well. It is a history lesson in depth and with heart. Barbara Kingsolver's writing is exquisitely beautiful. Her research must be extensive. Cannot recommend it enough.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing and beautifully written

Loved it! Couldn't stop listening as I was totally immersed. Brilliant book. Thank you.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A unique book that sticks

It’s not a page turner BUT it is a great slow burn. It’s an easy but deceptively deep read. Great characters, intriguing settings, solid spirit in the story. I learnt lots about a part of history I’m not sure I even knew existed until this book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pep
  • 08-01-2019

Loved this beautiful book

Loved this book - my first Barbara Kingsolver book. Beautifully written and read, a poignant story with recent history of the Congo as a background and protagonist. Moving, vibrant, and a cracker of a tale. Excellent characters.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

an unforgettable story

Wow this has to be the best book I've read in the last year. The characters are compelling, the subjects so complex. I felt it was a very "mature" book in that the issues were grappled with for a long time before the book was written. I don't know much about this history of Zaire or any African nation, but it seemed very well researched. Just took me into a world that I knew nothing about. I loved the words, so many arresting phrases, phrases that I want to remember. It's tricky with the audio version because you can't underline them. the ones that come to mind are the palendrome "Eros eyesore" and "there are more words in the world than yes or no".

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

African heartbeat

A passionate, heartfelt recounting of a missionary family in Zaire. Firstly it is apparent that the womenfolk are betrayed by the fanatical born-again arrogant father, but it becomes more apparent that the whole country is betrayed by Belgium as a colony and then USA after independence. It is all such an insight into the beating heart of Africa. Wonderful performance that suits the writer's written "voice". To nitpick, it does jump backwards and forwards at times but I suspect that may be deliberate to convey how the mother and daughters struggle with daily existence.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, raw, hopeful and tragic. Brings the Congo to life through the eyes of 5 very different women.

Brilliant - nuanced and insightful exploration of colonisation, white saviourism, capitalism, patriarchy, feminism, and religion, contrasted beautifully, funnily and tragically with indigenous wisdom and knowledge.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.