Get a free audiobook

Unsheltered

A Novel
Written by: Barbara Kingsolver
Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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 responsibility for her family. Which is why it’s so unnerving that she’s arrived at middle age with nothing to show for her hard work and dedication but a stack of unpaid bills and an inherited brick home in Vineland, New Jersey, that is literally falling apart. The magazine where she worked has folded, and the college where her husband had tenure has closed. The dilapidated house is also home to her ailing and cantankerous Greek father-in-law and her two grown children: her stubborn, free-spirited daughter, Tig, and her dutiful debt-ridden, ivy educated son, Zeke, who has arrived with his unplanned baby in the wake of a life-shattering development.

In an act of desperation, Willa begins to investigate the history of her home, hoping that the local historical preservation society might take an interest and provide funding for its direly needed repairs. Through her research into Vineland’s past and its creation as a Utopian community, she discovers a kindred spirit from the 1880s, Thatcher Greenwood.

A science teacher with a lifelong passion for honest investigation, Thatcher finds himself under siege in his community for telling the truth: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting new theory recently published by Charles Darwin. Thatcher’s friendships with a brilliant woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor draw him into a vendetta with the town’s most powerful men. At home, his new wife and status-conscious mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his financial worries and the news that their elegant house is structurally unsound.

Brilliantly executed and compulsively listenable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred - whether family or friends - and in the strength of the human spirit.

©2018 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Unsheltered

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    45
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    7
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the most interesting books I have heard.

I love her writing. I love her ideas, her turns of phrase, her characters, her insights and her utter brilliance in her craft. This book of hers was deep, reflective, funny, interesting and shines a light on the cycles of insanity our collective societies can descend into. A real glimpse at where we are in North America and a reminder that we have been here before, just as irrational, just as hateful and just as illogically dangerous as a society. I can't stop thinking about this story. The characters are friends.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Unbearable Narration

The whiny whispery combination in narration made it unbearable to listen to. Lasted one chapter. Couldn’t get past the narration to get into the story. She should stick to writing - leave the narration to professionals. A real disappointment.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly disappointing read

I am a fan of Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible. Absolutely loved it. But Unshelered is nothing like it. ... story line is trying too hard to connect unrelated stories. Much minutiae and detailed description that doesn't produce a rich narrative, exploration of grief or aging, nor good character development. Really disappointing. Didn't make it past chapter 6.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

disappointed

I couldn't empathize with the characters; found
the story quite thin. I quit before finishing it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Leave performances to the professionals

I found the production quality poor as if the recording was done in an empty room. I enjoyed the story but think a professional reader would have done a better job of the voices and accents.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

sad demise of kingsolver

I love the old kingsolver novels, but this is pretty bad and out of touch. The characters are mostly incoherent and improbable. Also her narration is awful. A disappointment. Would return it if I could.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story!

A wonderful tale written and read by Barbara Kingsolver! The storyline is captivating and imaginative.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not worth a minute of your time

Slow moving and not at all interesting. Don’t waste your time or money on this book.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Gail Dragon
  • 2018-11-05

Spring for a professional narrator, please!

This is my least favorite Kingslover book. I am kind of disappointed, I found it completely uninteresting. Though the most disappointing factor would be the narration, it sounds tinny and the voices and accents were atrocious. Please, I beg you, hire a professional next time. It can make or break a book and for this one, it broke it. I don't think I would have been as disappointed otherwise.

111 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • GoHigh
  • 2018-10-31

So Bad!!!

I’ve read this author’s books over the years and enjoyed them so this was a shock. This one is painful, whiney, drivel. Suffered thru to the last hour and then just stopped. Poor story, poor narration - not worth my time or the credit.

108 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Julia Mahood
  • 2018-10-29

so disappointing

It is rare when an author does a good job reading her/his own book. I didn't notice who the narrator was when I bought it. From the beginning it was kind of painful to listen to, with a somewhat stilted cadence and odd accents. When she mispronounced béchamel I thought "poor Barbara Kingsolver! They got someone to narrate her book who can't even correctly pronounce the words she wrote!" When I looked to see who the narrator was I was shocked to see that she chose to narrate her own book.
I've never been tempted to not finish one of her books, I'm a huge fan, but this one is depressing and the narration is the nail in the coffin.

88 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CG
  • 2018-10-28

Beautiful historical fiction/modern day novel

I love Barbara Kingsolver's books and this one didn't fail. I love her attention to nature and in this case, the story of 19th century Mary Treat, a recognized botanist and the modern day woman who decides to write about her. The prose is beautiful, the politics timely and the story of family heartwarming. I liked but didn't love having Kingsolver narrate. She is very clear and easy to understand, but I was always aware of her narration. I never lost myself in the characters as I do with the really talented narrators.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-28

Not her best work

I usually love Barbara Kingsolvers novels so I was excited to see a new one. However after listening to it on a long drive I found that it was terribly boring. I couldn't really find the point of the story and even skipped whole chapters hoping it would become more interesting. But alas, it didn't and I gave up without finishing.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Haveenoughstuff
  • 2018-10-20

Timely and on message

It is difficult to know where to start in praise of this novel. Perhaps I am biased as I live in the Pine Barrens not too far from Vineland. The story is really two. The inception of the city by Charles Landis in the post civil war era and some of the people who settled there; their lives and the indigenous nature of the Pine Barrens. The second story is present day Vineland, a mostly low income group of multi-cultured characters and their struggle to live in the city that has slowly disintegrated. As in many of Kingsolver’s books we learn via her characters lessons of living green, geopolitics, and interpersonal relationships. Her descriptive science knowledge is peppered with bittersweet humor with us all simply trying to live on this planet riddled with insurmountable problems.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • TheDallesmbt
  • 2018-10-29

Disappointing

I have been a Kingsolver fan from the time nearly 30 years ago when I read Animal Dreams. The Bean Tree and Pigs in Heaven cemented her as one of my favorite authors. I also really enjoyed both Holding the Line and High Tide in Tucson as nonfiction. This is the first time I have ever been tempted to a DNF conclusion with a book by Barbara Kingsolver. Although we hold many of the same beliefs, her pretentious, dreadful dialogue/preaching was mind numbing. The highly educated protagonists have every possible calamity befall them. The members of the family were not only one dimensional but unbelievable. Even worse, the author opted to narrate. The voices of Mary Treat and almost every male spoke in such a stilted manner that listening was a frustrating, difficult endeavor. She is capable of so much more, making the book an even greater disappointment.

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amy Poirier
  • 2018-12-11

I kept waiting for the story to qualify my time.....never happened

I feel Like I wasted my time with this book. I LOVE listening in my car sometimes not wanting to get out of my car sitting in my driveway listening This book never got to that place. Even the voice of the person reading annoyed me I rarely give up on books knowing they will turn and be amazing this book was Total waste of time

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kim Ashby
  • 2018-11-06

So disappointing

I was excited to read this book by one of my favorite authors. My excitement quickly vanished as I slogged through one incredibly boring and preachy chapter after another.

Ms. Kingsolver chose to narrate her own book. It’s hard to think anything could have made this book worse, but her plodding, laborious narration did indeed take the book from boring to unbearable, not to mention the numerous mispronounced words.

The book was a huge disappoint. Make this one a hard pass. You’ll thank me.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Saguaro59
  • 2018-11-10

Terrible narration

I love most of Barbara Kingsolver's books. The storyline here is ok but the narration - horrible! She should never read her own work. I was willing to give it a chance when I bought it several weeks ago, but be forewarned - not good. I guess in general most authors should not read their work. Lesson learned.

7 people found this helpful