Unsheltered: A Novel (Paperback)

Unsheltered: A Novel By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image
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November 2018 Indie Next List


“A brilliant novel set in two different centuries, eras when lies trumped truth and superstition overruled science. Kingsolver illustrates human resiliency with insight, humor, and compassion in this deeply satisfying novel. While showing the cost of leadership built on false promises and lies, it also illustrates the strength of the human spirit with characters who will not be broken by their times. Kingsolver’scharacters, including historical figures Mary Treat and Charles Landis, shine as they make their way through the maze of survival set before them. Great reading.”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Description


New York Times Bestseller Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, O: The Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek

“Kingsolver brilliantly captures both the price of profound change and how it can pave the way not only for future generations, but also for a radiant, unexpected expansion of the heart.” — O: The Oprah Magazine

The acclaimed author of The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees, and recipient of numerous literary awards—including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize—returns with a story about two families, in two centuries, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.

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.

A timely and "utterly captivating" novel (San Francisco Chronicle), Unsheltered interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval.

About the Author


Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in rural Kentucky. She earned degrees in biology from DePauw University and the University of Arizona, and has worked as a freelance writer and author since 1985. At various times she has lived in England, France, and the Canary Islands, and has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America. She spent two decades in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to southwestern Virginia where she currently resides.


Her books, in order of publication, are: The Bean Trees (1988), Homeland (1989), Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike (1989), Animal Dreams (1990), Another America (1992), Pigs in Heaven (1993), High Tide in Tucson (1995), The Poisonwood Bible (1998), Prodigal Summer (2000), Small Wonder (2002), Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands, with photographer Annie Griffiths (2002), Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007), The Lacuna (2009), Flight Behavior (2012), Unsheltered (2018), How To Fly (In 10,000 Easy Lessons) (2020), Demon Copperhead (2022), and coauthored with Lily Kingsolver, Coyote's Wild Home (2023). She served as editor for Best American Short Stories 2001. 


Kingsolver was named one the most important writers of the 20th Century by Writers Digest, and in 2023 won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Demon Copperhead. In 2000 she received the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages and have been adopted into the core curriculum in high schools and colleges throughout the nation. Critical acclaim for her work includes multiple awards from the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association, a James Beard award, two-time Oprah Book Club selection, and the national book award of South Africa, among others. She was awarded Britain's prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) for both Demon Copperhead and The Lacuna, making Kingsolver the first author in the history of the prize to win it twice. In 2011, Kingsolver was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


She has two daughters, Camille (born in 1987) and Lily (1996). She and her husband, Steven Hopp, live on a farm in southern Appalachia where they raise an extensive vegetable garden and Icelandic sheep. 

Praise For…


“Kingsolver’s dual narrative works beautifully. By giving us a family and a world teetering on the brink in 2016, and conveying a different but connected type of 19th-century teetering, Kingsolver creates a sense…that as humans we’re inevitably connected through the possibility of collapse, whether it’s the collapse of our houses, our bodies, logic, the social order or earth itself…In this engaged and absorbing novel, the two narratives reflect each other, reminding us of the dependability and adaptiveness of our drive toward survival.” — Meg Wolitzer, New York Times Book Review

“Utterly captivating…Keenly observed and thought-provoking…Kingsolver’s much-demonstrated talent for developing truly believable characters is, once again, on full display…Perhaps, more importantly, it’s the characters’ hardscrabble circumstances—especially in the modern story—that resonate right down to the bone.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Kingsolver brilliantly captures both the price of profound change and how it can pave the way not only for future generations, but also for a radiant, unexpected expansion of the heart.” — O: The Oprah Magazine, 15 Best Books of 2018

“I felt almost bereft closing the cover on this book… With a spellbinding narrative and its exquisitely accurate evocation of two eras, Barbara Kingsolver’s novel is itself a shelter of sorts. One doesn’t want to leave it.” — Helen Klein Ross, Wall Street Journal

“Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, Unsheltered, will make you weep…But Kingsolver is also downright hilarious…Unsheltered is also a sociopolitical novel tackling real-world issues, especially how we humans navigate profound changes that threaten to unmoor us.” — O, the Oprah Magazine

“Barbara Kingsolver does something amazing in her new novel…Uncovering and appreciating the connections between the two stories, historical and contemporary, is the best reason to read the book…Both stories are compelling as Thatcher and Willa lead their families during dangerously uncertain times.”                          — Associated Press

“UNSHELTERED’s title suggests a roof gone missing. But it’s also a resonant call to be more alert to our social predicaments, to ‘stand in the clear light of day.’” — USA Today

Unsheltered is a skillful blend of fact and fiction told in alternating chapters... It’s a winner all the way…an absolute giant of a book.”      — New York Journal of Books

“Nuanced and convincing…Engrossing.” — Jane Ciabattari, BBC News “Preview”

“Sophisticated storytelling, compelling characters and sharp humor…Kingsolver is a writer who can help us understand and navigate the chaos of these times.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Kingsolver’s meticulously observed, elegantly structured novel unites social commentary with gripping storytelling…Containing both a rich story and a provocative depiction of times that shake the shelter of familiar beliefs, this novel shows Kingsolver at the top of her game.” — Publishers Weekly (Boxed and Starred review)

“As always, Kingsolver gives readers plenty to think about. Her warm humanism coupled with an unabashed point of view make her a fine 21st-century exponent of the honorable tradition of politically engaged fiction.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Exceptionally involving and rewarding…There is much to delight in and think about while reveling in Kingsolver’s vital characters, quicksilver dialogue, intimate moments, dramatic showdowns, and lushly realized milieus…An enveloping, tender, witty, and awakening novel of love and trauma, family and survival, moral dilemmas and intellectual challenges…” — Booklist (starred review)

 “Riveting…A tour de force of fiction…about this dynamic conflict between individual expression and communal belonging...One of the most magical parts of UNSHELTERED is how Kingsolver skillfully blends her two narratives into one unified tale, with past and present repeatedly mirroring each other.”                    — BookPage

“Powerful.” — Book Riot

“A return to the more ambitious, grand scale of novels such as The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible…A lively and vividly peopled novel of ideas…Clear throughout the novel is a tension between self-reliance and interdependence.” — The Guardian (feature)



Product Details
ISBN: 9780062684738
ISBN-10: 0062684736
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Pages: 480
Language: English