A NovelBook - 2018
New York Times bestseller
The New York Times bestselling 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.
How could two hardworking people do everything right in life, a woman asks, and end up destitute? Willa Knox and her husband followed all the rules as responsible parents and professionals, and have nothing to show for it but debts and an inherited brick house that is falling apart. The magazine where Willa worked has folded; the college where her husband had tenure has closed. Their dubious shelter is also the only option for a disabled father-in-law and an exasperating, free-spirited daughter. When the family's one success story, an Ivy-educated son, is uprooted by tragedy he seems likely to join them, with dark complications of his own.
In another time, a troubled husband and public servant asks, How can a man tell the truth, and be reviled for it? A science teacher with a passion for honest investigation, Thatcher Greenwood finds himself under siege: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting work just published by Charles Darwin. His young bride and social-climbing mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his worries that their elegant house is unsound. In a village ostensibly founded as a benevolent Utopia, Thatcher wants only to honor his duties, but his friendships with a woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor threaten to draw him into a vendetta with the town's powerful men.
Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.
Featured Blogs and Events
Unsheltered is more than the title of Barbara Kingsolver's new book; it is the thoughtful overarching metaphor which connects the characters from two distinct time frames in one place. Kingsolver juxtaposes turmoil from today and the past, and yet wit and resilience are found throughout each storyline via gripping dialogue between the characters—their struggles and solace is found in vivid… (more)
From Library Staff
LPL_ShirleyB Dec 06, 2018
Recommended by Shirley
LPL_ShirleyB Oct 10, 2018
Set in the Pine Barren region of New Jersey, Kingsolver's newest novel features parallel narratives juxtaposing society's turmoil from today with the past. Real-life naturalist Mary Treat is among the most charismatic and intriguing characters. There is wit and resilience expressed in gripping di... Read More »
Unsheltered features alternating chapters of 19th and 21st century stories both set in New Jersey's Pine Barren region. Anthill by E.O. Wilson is a similarly thought-provoking and richly detailed novel which echoes reverence for the natural world of rural Alabama & Florida.
LPL_ShirleyB Sep 19, 2018
Kingsolver’s new novel is complex juxtaposing parallel stories of the social turmoil we’re experiencing today with 19th century religious challenges to science and evolution. Wit and resilience are expressed in gripping dialogue between the characters—their struggles and solace found in vivid con... Read More »