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Unsheltered cover art

Unsheltered

Written by: Barbara Kingsolver
Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
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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

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

disappointed

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

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration

How does Kingsolver do it? Another life changing book. Her insight into being human is remarkable. My favourite part is listening to her soothing and excellent narration.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Awful narration

Can’t really say much about the story because the brutal narration ruined it for me.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

All time favourite

One of Kingsolver's best. Narration by the author is even more intimate.
All the bliss and agony and humour of a well told grownup story.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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