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

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 - Cats&Books :)
    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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Zoeytron
    The importance of keeping one's house in order despite a shaky foundation, deterioration and rot festering within the walls and overhead.  Can it even be done?  With little common ground, the broken pieces of lives lie just under the surface, waiting to emerge and injure again.    Preachy as hell, to the point of distraction.  Enough is enough, and too much is just foolish.  Say sorry, but a once favored author of mine has slipped into tep...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Maxwell
    There is so much to unpack here, and even though it could have been very heavy-handed, I appreciated the commentary and the way she weaved the stories together and analyzed modern politics in light of historical shifts in thought. I also really grew to love the characters; I could have read individual novels about each of the protagonists. Will definitely check out more of Kingsolver's works.
  • 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...
  • Kathleen
    Expecting a warm and fuzzy, family-focused story in the Ann Tyler mode; I chose to read Unsheltered, a story about two different families living in the same house 140 years apart. What I got instead was a novel jam-packed with political overtones—the flaws of capitalism, the demise of the middle-class, the public’s disbelief in scientific advances [Darwinism in the 1870s; climate change today], the willful submission of the population to ‘o...
  • Barbara
    WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE A TRUMP FAN &/OR BELIEVE GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAXI have been reading Barbara Kingsolver for years and I love her writing. As it has been noted in Goodreads reviews, recently she has gotten on a preachy kick. I first felt I was being given a sermon in Flight Behavior. This tendency to use a novel as a pulpit certainly continues in Unsheltered. Don't get me wrong. I am gravely concerned with the plight of the monarch...
  • 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...
  • Margitte
    Let's make it short and sweet. Jarring, tedious, boring, preachy, political rant disguised as a novel. A keyboard-warrior on steroids. I loved the author's earlier works. I simply could not finish this book as much as I tried. It was my last read of this author. This was a gigantic waste of valuable time. What an utter disappointment. Perhaps I've read, and still read, too many, and way more interesting and riveting non-fictional books on the cho...
  • 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...
  • Nat K
    "Sometimes the right thing isn't a thing but a person," "And that's me?" "And that's you."A curious thing that I noticed about this book is that the last two words of a chapter form the title of the next chapter. Clever! That’s a nice quirky bit of writing. It took a while for this to sink in, around the Chapter 5 mark. I’ve no idea why it stuck out to me so much at that particular point. I’ve not noticed this style used in any other book.T...
  • Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
    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...
  • ☮Karen
    I listened to this on audio, narrated by the author (very nice job, except for the tinny - sounding production). Two stories in one, both demonstrating the struggle and alienation from holding beliefs other than the norm. In modern day (2016) is Willa and her extended family: Husband the college professor earning only a starter salary; Nick, his ailing, diabetic, Trump-supporting father; an adult daughter who is the antithesis to modern capitalis...
  • 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.