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, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Reviews Unsheltered

  • Emily May
    I don't know how I managed to finish this book. I'm sure I wouldn't have if I wasn't so reluctant to write a DNF review and deal with the inevitable backlash (how can you possibly say you didn't like it when you didn't even finish it?!)Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible is a great book, IMO, and it's hard to believe the same well-respected author wrote something this didactic and heavy-handed. There were parts where I felt like the only thing tha...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Cathrine ☯️
    4✚ 🐜 🐜 🐜 🐜If there was such a prize this one might win The Most Polarizing Novel of 2018. You will most likely be down there on the grass counting spiders with Mrs. Treat or staring at her from your window thinking she’s a crazy bug lady.I’m a huge BK fan but began this with some apprehension. A fair share of fans and friends did not find this a rewarding reading experience. I read several professional reviews after the fact and...
  • 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,...
  • 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...
  • Esil
    3+ starsI loved Barbara Kingsolver’s earlier books. But I haven’t loved her more recent books as much. She remains a good writer and still has deep insight into people and their complexities, but there’s an edge of preachiness to her writing that I find a bit jarring — even if I tend to agree with what she is preaching about.Unsheltered was yet another such book. Told in two timelines, Unsheltered tells the stories of people pushed out to...
  • 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...
  • Lisa
    A masterfully written dual timeline narrative, with unique and well drawn characters. ⭐⭐⭐⭐SUMMARYUnsheltered is a story of two families, who lived near the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey over 140 years apart. Both families are struggling with financial, political and social issues of their times.It’s 2016 and Willa Knox and her husband are in their 50’s and nearing retirement. They have worked hard, followed all the...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Lou
    Barbara Kingsolver has resided amongst my favourite authors for quite some time, so every time she publishes new work, I am there to read it! As always, her meticulously observed social commentary is on-point and thought-provoking, and although this is a work of fiction much of what is said relates to current real-world issues. If you are looking for a lighthearted, easy read, this is not it. However, if like me you enjoy ruminations on the big t...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Lisa
    [4+] Fear of becoming “unsheltered” runs through both narratives in this excellent novel. I loved the way the stories of Thatcher and Willa, separated by more than a century, both mesh and diverge. Yes, Kingsolver does insert plenty of political discussion in here – but she does it so well! And as Unsheltered eloquently reveals – a physical house is not a home. The more I think about this novel the more I like it. I may come back and up m...
  • 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...
  • 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!
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
    I always feel such kinship with the characters in Kingsolver’s books. It’s like I know them and often as if Kingsolver knows me and writes her books just for me. Such is the power of a book at times, the feeling that surely every word is meant for you and that someone far away thinks about the same stuff as you do.