Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver


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.Willa Knox has always prided herself on being the embodiment of r...

Details Unsheltered

Release DateOct 16th, 2018
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction

Reviews Unsheltered

  • Angela M
    3.5 stars I know when I read a Kingsolver book that it will most likely be about social issues, perhaps political too, so I wasn’t surprised. At first I thought there were maybe too many issues thrown in - affording to live, affording to die, health care, the environment, bigotry, and yes the politics of the day. A college closes and Willa Knox’s husband loses his tenured position and pension and they lose their home. The magazine she worked ...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 Upon my completion of this book, I was left with a serious conundrum. What do I rate this? I actually finished a few days ago, a read with Angela and Esil, and have been pondering that question throughout. One expects when reading Kingsolver to be confronted with her opinions, political, environmentally or something to do with the natural world. Here she gives us all three, in two different stories, ons in the past, one in the present. The co...
  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    This is the first book by this author that I did not finish, here's why.OK this was a huge disappointment for me but in hindsight I guess I should have seen it coming. I loved Kingsolver's earlier books but this one was just so political it was boring and tiring. I don't enjoy reading a book that makes me feel as though I'm being lectured to. I grew tired of the God vs evolution discussion, the health care, climate change etc etc etc.There is so ...
  • Will Byrnes
    The simplest thing would be to tear it down,” the man said. “The house is a shambles.” You do the right thing. You go to school, spend the years, invest the money, put off this or that temporary form of glee, take on the debt, pay it off. Get a job at the bottom of the ladder, work X number of years and move up. There are mis-steps, of course, accidents, bad decisions, re-directions, disappointments. Some big, some less so, everyone has the...
  • Kelly
    Kingsolver has been my favorite author for decades, since The Bean Trees swept me away 30 years ago. With Unsheltered, she has given us another gem. The best novels, I believe, are those that defy easy description. Unsheltered is about shelter, which we find in structures, people, nature, and work. It’s about the discoveries of science that are often put up against the ideas of faith. It’s about today’s sad political climate in which our tr...
  • Jill
    First of all, I want to shout out a word of thanks to the Goodreads FirstRead program and to the publisher, HarperCollins, for giving me the pleasure of becoming an early reader for one of my favored authors. You guys are the best!I’ve read most of Barbara Kingsolver’s books and the one thing I learned a while back is that you don’t go into her books without expecting a strong point of view. In an accompanying letter, Ms. Kingsolver writes,...
  • Claire
    Kingsolver has nailed it again for me. Unsheltered was a confronting, absorbing, thoughtful read- a novel of our times. I’m predisposed to like this a lot for a number of reasons; most importantly that Kingsolver draws of some of my favourite narrative devices- parallel narratives, and the use of place as character. At some level, this is a novel about a house, crumbling without foundations. More importantly it is a novel about the significance...
  • Judy
    I was looking forward to reading this book because I've loved several of Barbara Kingsolver's novels. Unfortunately I just couldn't find a connection to this one. I couldn't develop and depth of feeling for any of the characters nor with the plot, so definitely not a favorite for me.The writing was, of course, really good and Kingsolver's style shone through. The current story and the story set in the past segued well and were relevant easily to ...
  • Ron Charles
    Here comes the first major novel to tackle the Trump era straight on and place it in the larger chronicle of existential threats. Kingsolver has constructed this book as two interlaced stories, separated by more than a century. The contemporary story in “Unsheltered” offers a collage of Democratic talking points acted out in the lives of a middle-class family slipping down the ladder of success. Ironically, the alternate chapters of “Unshel...
  • Lori
    Full disclosure: I am a Barbara Kingsolver fan. Willa is supposed to "have it all." Married to a college professor, a writer herself, her children launched, life should be good...but it's not. Transplanted to New Jersey, she is jobless, her academic husband is wildly underemployed and her wayward daughter, her terminally ill, Archie Bunkerish father-in-law and an infant grandson who is NOT her daughter's child are all living under her roof. Roof ...
  • Marianne
    Unsheltered is the ninth novel by best-selling, prize-winning American novelist, essayist, and poet, Barbara Kingsolver. Now in her fifties, Willa Knox never expected to be living in a run-down house in Vineland, New Jersey, still the hub of a family that includes her two adult children, her new grandson, her debilitated, demanding father-in-law and an ageing dog. Virtually unemployed, Willa is writing some freelance articles; her university prof...
  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Every time I start reading a book I love I find myself slowing down, setting the book down in the middle of a chapter, rereading a page or two, going back and reading an earlier chapter again—-doing anything, in short, in order to prolong the experience, to avoid the inevitable last page. That’s how I felt about Unsheltered.There is so much to admire about this book. The structure of the novel is brilliantly constructed. Kingsolver tells two ...
  • Bonnie Brody
    I used to love Barbara Kingsolver's writing. The Poisonwood Bible, Bean Trees, and Animal Dreams are some of my favorite novels. But then she started getting very preachy, using her novels for what I interpret as authorial interjection. I feel lectured by her on a variety of subjects that must be close to her heart. In fact, many of her causes are close to my own heart. Despite this commonality of social consciousness and politics, that is not wh...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    This isn’t out for ages so all I’ll say is that in UNSHELTERED Kingsolver has utilised two of my favourite literary devices: parallel narratives and a story where a house is one of the characters. She’s a wonder!
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    Gimme ShelterKingsolver established the Bellwether Prize for socially engaged fiction, which is a distinction she has mastered herself. In lesser writers, novels that envelop politics and social justice turn out to be static mouthpieces for the author, an authorial intrusion like a fist slammed into the story. But Kingsolver is a nuanced writer of realist fiction, and, like all her novels, UNSHELTERED fuses the struggles of society with a compell...
  • Rebecca
    Kingsolver’s bold eighth novel has a dual timeline that compares the America of the 1870s and the recent past, revealing how they are linked by distrust and displacement. The book’s themes and structure emphasize similarities between two time periods that might initially appear very different. Chapters alternate between the story lines, and the last words of one chapter form the title of the next. It’s a clever and elegant connecting strate...
  • Kate Vocke
    I am typically a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver's books. Her writing is exquisite and reads like a dream. She is usually one of the few writers of historical novels I read as it's not really my most favorite genre, but unfortunately this one was a total snooze-fest. I almost quit several times, I was just SO bored! Honestly, nothing really happens in this book, there are a few deaths, a shooting, and drama of beliefs with the push and pull of scie...
  • Eric Anderson
    When Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent previous novel “Flight Behaviour” was published I remember her describing in an interview how she couldn’t imagine not addressing environmental concerns in her writing given the state of global warming. It’s been six years since then and her new novel “Unsheltered” also has environmental issues at its heart, but takes a different angle. The novel has two storylines woven together in alternating ch...
  • Bruce Katz
    This book caught me entirely by surprise. I haven't found Kingsolver's recent books to my taste so I didn't expect too much when I picked it up. In fact, this one blew me away. I loved it. It's playful, touching, smart, searing, funny and very topical. And it's great story-telling. I can't begin to count the many passages I highlighted and the times I wished I could share and discuss a scene with someone.I have the highest admiration for -- and e...
  • Ang
    Sometimes in the middle of a book I think "This book is a masterpiece." and then 20 pages later I start to second-guess myself. Who am I to declare a book a masterpiece, after all? I'm just a girl that reads a lot.All that is to say--this book was incredible. Kingsolver is always good, but this is more than good. This book felt to me like the perfect book for these past two years. It captures something about living right now, in 2018 America, in ...
  • Scarlett
    Welcome to The Big Book of Dialogues! I have never in my life read this big amount of unnecessary blabber between characters, I simply can’t believe that one experienced author could put all this in a novel and expect people to read it with excitement. Some of the topics that were discussed casually, during dinner or a simple walk around the neighborhood: molecules, unsustainable economy, Darwin’s theory, digestion of spiders, house reparatio...
  • Diana
    The thing I love the most about reading a Barbara Kingsolver book is getting to enjoy the wonderfully specific conversations her wonderfully specific characters have with each other. These conversations are warm, funny, interesting, and from time to time, they actually make me laugh out loud.And in these times we’re living through- and that one of Kingsolver’s narrators, Willa, is living through right along with us- these conversations are NE...
  • Teresa
    I absolutely loved reading this book ~ my favorite read this year.I keep thinking about this book and am struggling to "get into" others afterwards. A sure sign of a favorite read when I am not able to move past it! Anyway, here's a brief review to attempt to describe why I loved this particular selection so much.This novel is brilliantly developed for the reader as it alternates between our two main subjects - Willa Knox whose family has moved t...
  • Rljulie
    Writers help us make sense of the world—ours, and those past, and the future as well. In uncertain times, we need writers that much more, to make sense of what we don’t understand, and what is most terrifying. I remember when, as a teen, a Barbara Kingsolver novel first made me set down a book in surprise, mid-page, saying “yeah, that is it, that’s how it is.” Decades later, my life experience that much further along, I still need Barba...
  • Kate
    This book reminded me of why I first fell in love with Barbara Kingsolver's writing.
  • Ann
    Willa moves her family to Vineland,NJ when her husband loses his job as a professor in a small college. The house is falling down and unsafe but it’s all they have. She starts to research the history of the home to see if she can get money for historical preservation. She finds previous owner Thatcher was a naturalist and into Darwin’s theory of Evolution. I picked this book because I’m very familiar with South Jersey. I liked the concept o...
  • Katie
    I love Barbara Kingsolver's writing. I love how much of her writing deals with Nature and its wonders. I love how real her characters are and how they interact in such interesting ways. I had no idea this book was coming out until I saw a Facebook post from her cradling an ARC of this book with its gorgeous cover. Unsheltered has two central stories. Willa and her husband are struggling financially due to her magazine closing and his College clos...