Siria's Reviews > The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
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's review
Apr 03, 08

bookshelves: 20th-century, american-fiction
Read in April, 2008

I quite liked this, though it's obvious that this was Kingsolver's first novel. The main character, Taylor, is unevenly developed--she's too mutable, changing to fit what Kingsolver wants to say or how she wants to say it at various points in the book--and many of the other characters are types, not people, however finely observed. The plotline involving the refugees from Guatemala in particular was a little too anvilicious. And while it's set very definitely in the American South, the novel didn't seem reminiscent of it--I never really got a picture of Tuscon or Oklahoma in my head--because there was description but no feel.

What drew me into this book, though, were the hints of how vivid her writing would become by the time of The Poisonwood Bible: there are some really sharp and oddly beautiful observations, and when she's not trying too hard to drive home a point, her dialogue is nicely observed. Interesting, too, to see that is a book in which men are characterised almost solely by their absence. Enjoyable for the style and the promise, but not for the substance, I think.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kori "anvilicious" - THAT's the word - thank you!

Yaaresse Love the word "anvilicious." Perfect choice. Don't you mean the American Southwest rather than south though? Oklahoma isn't southern, at least not to southerners (Kentucky barely is southern, at least to the rest of the south), and I don't think anyone would consider Tuscon southern in any way.

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