Unsheltered

Unsheltered

A Novel

Book - 2018 | First edition
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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. Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, 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.-- Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
Branch Call Number: FICTION KIN
Characteristics: 464 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780062684561
0062684566

Opinion

From Library Staff

I love how Kingsolver addresses the current political and environmental situation in parallel stories of families living in the same crumbling house during different eras. Each family finds their own ways of coping with changing times and social mores which resonate deeply with our current climat... Read More »


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brangwinn
Nov 21, 2018

Comparing Victorian attitudes with day beliefs, Kingsolver has brought forth a novel that shows we still have a long way to go. Her progressive family in the story has depth and lots to say about politics. Grandpa is clearly a Trump supporter, which his son seems to be able to ignore and causes his daughter-in-law to grit her teeth. It’s a multi-generational family struggling to make ends meet. Living in an inherited home, hoping to be able to find a grant to make it livable provides the fodder for the story that moves from the home inhabitants of post-Civil War times and the current family. As usual, Kingsolver gives us lots to think about.

t
Tara_P
Nov 18, 2018

The social upheaval resulting from the scientific demonstration of evolution is juxtaposed in this novel with the current denial of the evidence that the damage we have done to our planet, through global warming, has been set in motion and will continue due to our inability to stop consuming and polluting. The link between the two phenomenon is a house that is falling down where the two families who are struggling with these issues reside separated by a century. The author's superlative skill and insight patiently lead us through a series of clearly laid out circumstances to the point where we see ourselves, and it's not pretty. We persist in our destruction of the earth while being distracted by the transient, all be it abhorrent, misuse of power in our society exemplified by the great wealth of such a small segment of our population and the ridiculous machinations of the leaders of our government. Despite the ugly revelation, she gives us hope for the future in the wisdom of the coming shift in demographics and the awareness of the results of our greedy, entitled behavior that is developing in the generations to come. This is one of the most important books of the 21st century thus far because it provides us with the truth in the way that only fiction can.

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GummiGirl
Nov 06, 2018

Kingsolver addresses multiple social issues, as she has in her other novels, but keeps them from weighing down the plot too much. The many characters and their relationships only sometimes become cliches, and her writing is as beautiful as always.

s
Shirleynature
Oct 16, 2018

A new book by Kingsolver is super exciting!

LPL_ShirleyB Sep 19, 2018

Kingsolver’s new novel is complex juxtaposing parallel stories of the social turmoil we’re experiencing today with 19th century religious challenges to science and evolution. Wit and resilience are expressed in gripping dialogue between the characters—their struggles and solace found in vivid connections with nature and each other.

debwalker Sep 18, 2018

Barbara Kingsolver's ambitious novel follows characters in different centuries as they undergo seismic cultural shifts.

t
theequ1nn
Jul 25, 2018

Sarah Bird took this route in her novel Above the East China Sea. A young woman's issues on the island of Okinawa in today's world, and the issues of a young woman during WW2. Come to think of it, the
late great author Philip Kerr also did this in his Bernie Gunther thrillers.

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