Man oh man, are we in for it now, was my thinking about the Congo from the instant we first set foot.Thus speaks Rachel Rebekah Price the 'extreme blonde' in The Poisonwood Bible. Fifteen-years old and completely self-centred she unwillingly spends a year in a remote village in Africa with her missionary father, mother and three sisters, Adah, Leah and Ruth May. Pretty tough for a girl 'whose only hopes for the year were a sweet sixteen party and a pink mohair twin set.'
The Poisonwood Bible is a fabulous novel. I loved Methuselah, the African Grey parrot, who has learned to swear from the previous missionary ('Piss off, Methuselah!') and the early scene where Nathan tries to cultivate the African soil. Arrogantly chopping down orchids to make way for beans and tomatoes he falls foul of the poisonwood tree which brings him out in a weeping, welted rash.
In her introduction to this edition Barbara Kingsolver says that she waited nearly 30 years for the wisdom and maturity to write this novel. It's a beautiful evocation of Africa.