Poisonwood Bible Essay

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The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver Contents: Author’s Note Book One - GENESIS BookTwo - THE REVELATION BookThree - THE JUDGES Book Four - BEL AND THE SERPENT Book Five - EXODUS Book Six - SONG of THE THREE CHILDREN Book Seven - THE EYES IN THE TREES Author’s Note THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. Its principal characters are pure inventions with no relations on this earth, as far as I know. But the Congo in which I placed them is genuine. The historical figures and events described here are as real as I could render them with the help of recorded history, in all its fascinating variations. Because I wasn’t able to enter Zaire while researching and writing the novel, I relied on memory, travel in other parts of Africa, and many people’s accounts of the natural, cultural, and social history of the Congo/Zaire. Such is the diversity and value of these sources— to me, and to any reader who might wish to know more of the facts underpinning the fiction—that I’ve cited many of them in a bibliography at the end of the book. Most profoundly helpful among them was Jonathan Kwitny’s description of Zaire’s postcolonial history, in his excellent book, Endless Enemies, which gave shape to my passion to write a novel on the same subject. I returned continually to that account for the big picture and countless small insights. I gleaned many kinds of instruction from Janheinz Jahn’s classic text, Muntu; Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart; Man P. Merriam’s Congo: Background of Conflict; and Lumumba: The Last Fifty Days by G. Heinz and H. Donnay. I couldn’t have written the book at all without two remarkable sources of literary inspiration, approximately equal in size: K. E. Laman’s Dictionnaire Kikongo-Francais, and the King James Bible. I also relied on help from my lively community of friends, some of whom may have feared they’d breathe their last before I was
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