Cover art for Unsheltered

Unsheltered

92 ratings

Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards - including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize - returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval. Willa Knox has always prided herself on being the embodiment of responsibility for her family. Which is why it’s so unnerving that she’s arrived at middle age with nothing to show for her hard work and dedication but a stack of unpaid bills and an inherited brick home in Vineland, New Jersey, that is literally falling apart. The magazine where she worked has folded, and the college where her husband had tenure has closed. The dilapidated house is also home to her ailing and cantankerous Greek father-in-law and her two grown children: her stubborn, free-spirited daughter, Tig, and her dutiful debt-ridden, ivy educated son, Zeke, who has arrived with his unplanned baby in the wake of a life-shattering development. In an act of desperation, Willa begins to investigate the history of her home, hoping that the local historical preservation society might take an interest and provide funding for its direly needed repairs. Through her research into Vineland’s past and its creation as a Utopian community, she discovers a kindred spirit from the 1880s, Thatcher Greenwood. A science teacher with a lifelong passion for honest investigation, Thatcher finds himself under siege in his community for telling the truth: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting new theory recently published by Charles Darwin. Thatcher’s friendships with a brilliant woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor draw him into a vendetta with the town’s most powerful men. At home, his new wife and status-conscious mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his financial worries and the news that their elegant house is structurally unsound. Brilliantly executed and compulsively listenable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred - whether family or friends - and in the strength of the human spirit.

©2018 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

91 ratings

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.

Narrator: Dean Robertson
Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
Available on Audible
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Prodigal Summer

29 ratings

Summary

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives in southern Appalachia. At the heart of these intertwined narratives is a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches them from an isolated mountain cabin where she is caught off-guard by Eddie Bondo, a young hunter who comes to invade her most private spaces and her solitary life. Down the mountain, another web of lives unfolds as Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land that has become her own. And a few more miles down the road, a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors tend their respective farms and wrangle about God, pesticides, and the possibilities the future holds. Over the course of one long summer, these characters find connections to one another, and to the land, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one piece of life on earth.

©2000 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2000 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
Available on Audible
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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

15 ratings

Summary

When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment. They find themselves eager to move away from the typical food scenario of American families: a refrigerator packed with processed, factory-farmed foods transported long distances using nonrenewable fuels. In their search for another way to eat and live, they begin to recover what Kingsolver considers our nation's lost appreciation for farms and the natural processes of food production. Americans spend less of their income on food than has any culture in the history of the world, but they pay dearly in other ways: losing the flavors, diversity, and creative food cultures of earlier times. The environmental costs are also high, and the nutritional sacrifice is undeniable: on our modern industrial food supply, Americans are now raising the first generation of children to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Part memoir and part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

©2007 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

Available on Audible
Cover art for The Lacuna

The Lacuna

13 ratings

Summary

From the Mexico City of Frida Kahlo to the America of J. Edgar Hoover, The Lacuna tells the poignant story of a man pulled between two nations. Born in the United States, but reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers and, one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed muralist Diego Rivera. When he goes to work for Rivera, his wife, exotic artist Kahlo, and exiled leader Lev Trotsky, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution. Meanwhile, the United States has embraced the internationalist goodwill of World War II. Back in the land of his birth, Shepherd seeks to remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. But political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach - the lacuna - between truth and public presumption.

©2009 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

Length: 19 hrs and 14 mins
Available on Audible
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Animal Dreams

13 ratings

Summary

From Barbara Kingsolver, the acclaimed author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, The Bean Trees, and other modern classics, Animal Dreams is a passionate and complex novel about love, forgiveness, and one woman's struggle to find her place in the world. At the end of her rope, Codi Noline returns to her Arizona home to face her ailing father, with whom she has a difficult, distant relationship. There she meets handsome Apache trainman Loyd Peregrina, who tells her, "If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life." Filled with lyrical writing, Native American legends, a tender love story, and Codi's quest for identity, Animal Dreams is literary fiction at its very best.

©1990 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees

11 ratings

Summary

Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity of putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

©1988 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

Narrator: C. J. Critt
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Pigs in Heaven

Pigs in Heaven

7 ratings

Summary

Picking up where her modern classic The Bean Trees left off, Barbara Kingsolver's best-selling Pigs in Heaven continues the tale of Turtle and Taylor Greer, a Native American girl and her adoptive mother who have settled in Tucson, Arizona, as they both try to overcome their difficult pasts. Taking place three years after The Bean Trees, Taylor is now dating a musician named Jax and has officially adopted Turtle. But when a lawyer for the Cherokee Nation begins to investigate the adoption, their new life together begins to crumble. Depicting the clash between fierce family love and tribal law, poverty and means, abandonment and belonging, Pigs in Heaven is a morally wrenching, gently humorous work of fiction that speaks equally to the head and to the heart.

©2016 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Narrator: C. J. Critt
Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for How to Fly (in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)

How to Fly (in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)

1 rating

Summary

In this intimate collection, the beloved author of The Poisonwood Bible and more than a dozen other New York Times best sellers, winner or finalist for the Pulitzer and countless other prizes, now trains her eye on the everyday and the metaphysical in poems that are smartly crafted, emotionally rich, and luminous.  In her second poetry collection, Barbara Kingsolver offers reflections on the practical, the spiritual, and the wild. She begins with “how to” poems addressing everyday matters such as being hopeful, married, divorced; shearing a sheep; praying to unreliable gods; doing nothing at all; and of course, flying.  Next come rafts of poems about making peace (or not) with the complicated bonds of friendship and family, and making peace (or not) with death, in the many ways it finds us. Some poems reflect on the redemptive powers of art and poetry itself; others consider where everything begins.  Closing the book are poems that celebrate natural wonders - birdsong and ghost-flowers, ruthless ants, clever shellfish, coral reefs, deadly deserts, and 1,000-year-old beech trees - all speaking to the daring project of belonging to an untamed world beyond ourselves.  Altogether, these are poems about transcendence: finding breath and lightness in life and the everyday acts of living. It’s all terribly easy and, as the title suggests, not entirely possible. Or at least, it is never quite finished. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook. 

©2020 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

Length: 2 hrs and 13 mins
Available on Audible