The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel
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.
pages for me, one at a time: here was a neatly coiffed white mother beside a huge white clothes dryer and a fat white child and a great mound of bright clean clothes that would be sufficient, it seemed to me, to clothe a whole village; here were a man and woman holding between them a Confederate flag on a vast lawn so flat and neatly trimmed their shadows stretched behind them for the length of a fallen tree; here was a blonde woman in a black dress and pearls and long red fingernails leaning
which you can pile by the fistful or the bucketful into a merchant’s hand, and still not purchase a single banana. It’s dawning on me that I live among men and women who’ve simply always understood their whole existence is worth less than a banana to most white people. I see it in their eyes when they glance up at me. January is a hard, dry month and I’m lonely, I think. Lonely for others of my kind, whoever that might be. Sometimes I imagine leaving, going home to see Mother and Adah, at least,
likely. In the first place I am flat-chested, just plain too skinny. When Adah and I got moved up two grades, it just made things that much worse. We were preacher’s daughters to begin with, and now we were really onions in the petunia patch, amongst all those ninth-grade girls with flirty eyes and foundation makeup and bosoms poking out the fronts of their mohair sweater sets. No boy ever looked at me except for homework help. And to tell the truth, I can’t say that I care. Kissing looks like
felt a throb of dread. Not a single soul was standing at the edge of the field to greet us—no villagers, not even Mother or my sisters. This much is for sure, nobody was pounding on drums or stewing up a goat for us. As Father and I crossed the lonely field and made for our house I couldn’t help but think about that earlier night and the welcome feast, all the tastes and sounds of it. How strange and paltry it seemed at the time, and now, looking back, what an abundance of good protein had been
family whose children were struck hard with the kakakaka quietly removed themselves back to ancestor worship, while a few of the heathen families that were hard hit quietly came and tried out Christianity. While it makes perfect sense to me, this pragmatic view of religion escapes the Reverend utterly. Each time a new convert limps through the door on a Sunday morning, he will boast over dinner that he is “really calling them home now, buddy. Finally attracting the attention of some of the local