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

  • 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 ...
  • 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,...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Kate
    This book reminded me of why I first fell in love with Barbara Kingsolver's writing.
  • Jenne
    Kingsolver is always a little preachy, and this one is no exception--it feels a bit like a dramatization of the last year's worth of articles in The Atlantic--but she's also always wonderful at creating people you care about.
  • Erin
    This was my first Kingsolver book, but it definitely won't be my last. I was fully absorbed into the dual stories - tied together by one house that's nearly falling down in Vineland, NJ. Her writing is so captivating, and the story had a great mix of heartache and love. Plus, the added element of historical fiction makes this a must-read. My only complaint? The plot is a little slow-going throughout the middle of the book. But, this is a more in-...
  • Latkins
    This is an excellent novel which combines two stories set in the same house, more than a hundred years apart, in Vineland, New Jersey, the supposedly idyllic community set up by Charles Landis in the 19th century. In the present day, Willa has moved her family into a house there inherited from her aunt, only to find that it's falling down. She has lost her journalism job and her husband Iano has had to start again from the bottom in his new colle...
  • Michelle Arredondo
    I'm beginning to believe that one can not go wrong with a Barbara Kingsolver book choice. I have read several of her books and have been delighted to discover that each and everyone has been so engrossing, enchanting, and unique. Unsheltered...yet another beauty. Shelter....and all the ways it means to serve different people. One the obvious...a house...but also the not so obvious...shelter we find within people...security. Parallel worlds...para...
  • Sarah Beth
    I received an advance reader's edition of this novel from HarperCollins. Told in alternating chapters, this novel follows two families in two different time periods who find themselves in the same town, in the same crumbling house. In present day, Willa Knox feels like her life is falling apart. Both her career and her husband's has crumbled and she finds herself scrambling to provide for herself, her ailing father-in-law, her two grown children,...
  • Jennifer
    When I first started reading this story I thought it was a bit slow. But as the story went on I found myself enjoying it more and more. It’s an excellent piece of historical fiction, but it is also a great examination of the Trump era. Kingsolver dissects why a person would support a politician who offers them nothing more than the veneer of solace.The reader can discern a lot of symbolism and parallels between today and the 1880s in the story ...
  • Janelle
    A huge thanks to Jen, who lent me her paperback ARC obtained from a friend at Harper. Jen delivered this book to my doorstep when I was struck low with infected poison ivy. Reading it was a perfect distraction for the next three days!Kingsolver attempts a lot with this novel. The narrative takes place in a rambling Victorian house in the planned, utopian community of Vineland, New Jersey, but the narrative is doubled - we get one storyline in the...