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Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, feeling quite caught up particularly by Mary Treat and Thatcher Greenwood’s situation and the exploration of the seismic shift of thinking that Darwin brought about. I see now a bit more of why the U.S. has a problem with evolution…although it still seems extreme. Why do some people want to be so literal in their response to the Bible?
BK’s basic metaphor of ‘shelter’ – I did think that maybe this was made to work too hard in the story. That both Thatcher’s and Willa’ house were disintegrating and would leave them ‘Unsheltered’, AND that the science of evolution left people without the comfort of the almighty, pre-ordained world where all knew his/her place. As well as the metaphor of shelter against the natural environment and climate and economic change…it all seemed a bit too much by the end. I thought the internal family debates about economics and politics were also a bit stretched by the need to cover all the bases. I did not find Tig a particularly realistic character, indeed all the modern family seemed a little stereotyped, including the rather ineffectual husband!
I would rate this below ‘Flight behaviour’ and on a par with ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ in her canon. I look forward to the next work from her ‘pen’ though!
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