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UNSHELTERED

Barbara Kingsolver

  • Original Title: UNSHELTERED
  • Publication date: October 2018
  • Publisher: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Country: US
  • 480 print pages
  • Dramedy

Information

  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 19th century, 21th century
  • Location setting: United States
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Facing failure, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Rivalry, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Education (illiteracy), Power, Obscurantism, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, Commitment, CHARACTERS, Strong Female Character, FAMILY, Couple, Resilience, Inequality, Intolerance, LOVE / HATE, Amorous urge

Pitch

Set in 2016 and 1871. Willa stands braced against the vicissitudes of her shattered life and family. Thatcher, a science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Darwin. But his teachings are not welcome in his small town. Both characters will pay a high price for their courage.

Comments

Translation rights sold: UK

American novelist Barbara Kingsolver is the author of THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. She established and funds the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded to unpublished writers whose works support social change. Each of her books published since 1993 has been on the New York Times Best Seller list. She has also been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award.

"From the New York Times bestselling author, Barbara Kingsolver, a timely new novel that looks to history as well as to contemporary life to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great uncertainty." - Publishers Marketplace

Summary

A 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 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.

Report available

go further

  • Author’s biography

    Barbara Kingsolver (born in 1955) is an American novelist, essayist and poet. Her first novel, THE BEAN TREES, was published in 1988. In 1998, she published THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. She established and funds the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded to unpublished writers whose works support social change.
    ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE is a non-fiction account of her family's attempts to eat locally.
    Her work often focuses on topics such as social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments. Each of her books published since 1993 has been on the New York Times Best Seller list. She has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award.