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Homeland and Other Stories

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  6,485 ratings  ·  347 reviews
Homeland and Other Stories offers comic, often heart-warming but always true to life tales told as only the author can, creating a world of love and possibility that listeners will want to take as their own.
Paperback, 245 pages
Published November 25th 2003 by HarperPerennial (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,485 ratings  ·  347 reviews

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AJ Griffin
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: blue-collar democrats, people with decent attention spans, and of course Andrew Jackson
Recommended to AJ by: the word of God, through my mother
Leave it to my mother. Every time I get to the point where I've almost relegated her to the lands of the unenlightened, she pops out of the woodwork and shows off a surprising amount of taste; for a Baptist minister who proudly voted for George W. Bush and thinks Carrot Top is funny, my mom occasionally knows what's up. Homeland was an Easter gift, buried between chocolate bunnies and "inspirational" literature meant to soothe what she sees as my wayward soul. Like a lot of her gifts, the ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't often read short stories, but a colleague lent this to me, and I'm so glad he did. It's beautifully written, and I will definitely go on to try Kingsolver's novels.

This is a collection of a dozen poignant stories: all quite different in plot, style, and setting (though all are in small, non-wealthy communities), but all concerning people who are somewhat marginalised, whether by society or within a relationship. In the few short pages of each story, Kingsolver conjures up whole lives...
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kingsolver is nothing if not political. She writes stories with a purpose. Lots of poetry, but no puffery. Her characters are strugglers not stragglers. She is of the South, but fights its good ole boy ways.

In each story, the main character, most always female, fights, fights as if her life depends upon it. It does. Indigenous people, Appalachians, native Americans, Latinas all need to balance right and wrong, familial love, racism, unionism, etc.

Each story is powerful and no issue is resolved.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was so conflicted about how to rate this book: some of the stories were definitely 5 star quality, while others I would rate at a 2 or 3.
In the end, I decided that the great stories outweighed the meh stories, and so it got four stars.
The title story, "Homeland" is extrememly good, although my favorites were "Covered Bridges" and "Rose Johnny"
A theme of these stories is an "incomplete" or sort of abrupt ending. At first, this bothered me, until I realized it's a perfect statement about life
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-story
Very early Barbara Kingsolver, stories published in 1989. I liked most of these, especially Rose-Johnny and Bereaved Apartments.
Tina Cipolla
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have just recently returned from a my first trip to Europe, and I toured many of the major museums. It struck me as funny the way people would literally run up to one of the great masterworks of Western Art and get their picture taken, and the way folks would elbow their way to get as close as possible to the Mona Lisa or Van Gogh's Self Portrait. I think people want, even if just for a few second to be in the presence of greatness. Standing in front of the Mona Lisa is as close as you will ...more
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who can pick up on the subtle things
I recommend this to those who can pick up on the subtle things as many of these stories are more impressions or snapshots of life -- what people are like, how they feel, what they want, etc -- rather than big, exciting plots.

This book was lovely. I could relate to every single character in this book, be they young, old, man, woman, happy, miserable, and so on. Kingsolver's writing is so poetic while conveying such REALITY. I am full of admiration for her as a writer and have yet to find anything
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
These delicious stories are another reason I adore Barbara Kingsolver. She never fails to woo me with her simple, yet intriguing storytelling. I return to her time after time.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
If I were teaching a fiction workshop to undergraduates, I think this would have to be on my reading list. Kingsolver waltzes with those story components so gracefully and each story has range; the reader does not feel as if she is reading the same story with slight shifts. With each story, I felt comfortable with it as a whole entity, though with many, I wish there were more, wanting to live in that world a bit longer.

The only issue I took were a good handful of her endings--they felt as if
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I didn't expect this book. I read Prodigal Summer years ago, but this book is entirely different. Fifty percent percent of the stories are awesome. The rest are interesting but nothing stunning. The thing that is impressive about this book is the range of voices. As a collection of short stories it showcased Kingsolvers' ability to write convincingly from lots of different perspectives: the Latina strikebreaker, the white trash theif, the unhappily married woman - all female voices from ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very interesting collection of short stories that introduce the reader to women in a variety of situations and at various stages of life. Kingsolver has a fine ear for dialog and seems able to dive straight to the heart of all manner of issues that confront our understanding of what it means to be a woman. Each of these women proves heroic in some small way and her remarkable ability to draw us into the story is on brilliant display. This reader came to care about each of these women in some ...more
Susan Emmet
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Glad to return to an older Kingsolver book. Fine stories all, set in places like CA, Kentucky and St. Lucia. Mostly female protagonists and narrators. Mostly about complex women of various ages who face up and 'fess up to challenge and change. Especially liked "Blueprints," "Bereaved Apartments,"Jump-up Day," and "Why I Am A Danger To The Public." I love the way K. weaves in place, time, nature, and the ties that bind us despite our differences.
Nancy Gillies
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
It has been a while since I read a book by Barbara Kingsolver, but as was the case with her earlier works, I was quickly drawn into her way of noting that which is special in ordinary lives. Reading this collection of short stories was kind of like eating a box of assorted chocolates; many of the selections were really delicious, while a few were just “meh.” One story that I especially savoured was “Covered Bridges.” It describes a couple who found love later in life and who were struggling over ...more
A number of years ago I read my first Barbara Kingsolver book, The Bean Trees and she captured my heart in almost everything of hers that I have read since. You can say I am a big fan. This collection of stories is true to her fabulous and genuine storytelling abilities.
Myra Scholze
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Phenomenal. I'm adding this to my list of reasons to love Barbara Kingsolver.
Emer Tannam
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t particularly like short stories, but Barbara Kingsolver was as warm and absorbing as usual, which made it an enjoyable read.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I just need to stay away from short stories. I don't like them!
Julie Paden
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve made other (pretty feeble) attempts at short stories and had a really hard time getting into them. This was the first one I really liked!
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Once again, Barbara Kingsolver does not disappoint. While I prefer her novels over short stories, this collection of stories was special. Her writing is lovely, as usual, and over the course of these twelve stories, she touches on topics that any human could related to. I chose to read this book during a time when I was working hard in a storage unit, sorting through 50 years-worth of my mother's and father's possessions. It was physically- and emotionally-draining work, and I wanted to come ...more
It's always difficult to rate a collection like this. I feel like four stars is an insult to the awesomeness of the several stories I loved, stories that I will return to again and again--both as a writer and a teacher of writing. Still, I can't in good conscience give the whole book five stars--it wouldn't be fair to my favorite stories to imply that the less-great stories could hang with them.

Regardless of ratings, Kingsolver is a gifted short story writer. I'm surprised this is her only
Monica Roy
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a bit embarrassed to admit I've never really read anything by Kingsolver before; I started Flight Behavior when Hannah was a baby, and my e-book library loan ended before I could really get into it. On the flipside, I am happy to have "discovered" a new author whose books I can pick up without much worry about whether or not the writing will be good. I enjoyed each of the stories in this collection and was impressed by Kingsolver's range in voice, point of view, character, and style. There ...more
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Again, another leap of faith I took on a Barbara Kingsolver piece. Not usually a short story reader but I had to try. Not my favorite of hers but just as satisfying as her other works.

What I found most amazing about this collection of short stories was how raw and loud her political and social voice came through in these stories. More so than her novels. This would make sense since one has less time in which to lull the reader into a sense of what you the writer are trying to say so the message
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
So excited to see how this goes... is Barbara Kingsolver even capable of short stories?

Wonderful characters, not surprisingly. Is it weird to say that my biggest complaint was that I would get to love the characters then on to the next story? Sorry, Barbara, but you do that to me. Every story was so unique, I really enjoyed each. The main characters were pretty much always women (no surprise there). But I still feel weird reading short Kingsolver stories. There was this one very small character
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories all have women as the protagonist. What makes the book interesting is the variety of characters. Kingsolver portrays people as diverse as a native matriarch,couples at various stages of their marriages who have lost the ability to communicate or trust, a single mom,a union supporter. Unconventional women,ordinary women, but all strong women. Her stories made me wish that she had written a novel about each one; I wanted to get to know them better and see them in ...more
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
While I'm not a huge fan of short stories, if the author is Kingsolver they're going to be good. These particular tales revolve around the theme of family. Especially good was "Bereaved Apartments', about an elderly woman with antique treasures who thinks someone has broken into her home over 100 times and damaged or stolen her belongings. Kingsolver doesn't really resolve (no pun intended)her stories so much is left up to the reader to imagine. Sometimes I like that, and sometimes I want it all ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm usually not a fan of short stories, but I have to admit I enjoyed this book a lot.

I rated it only 4 stars because most of the stories left me with a feeling of having (needing!!) to know more- how the subjects dealt with their traumatic events, what they went on to do next, how their lives turned out, etc. (especially in the case of the last story in this book!), but I feel that way with a lot of the books I've read.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Each story is a whole different world. Each character is fully formed and engaging. I was enthralled by the power of each story. A book for adults; I don’t think I would have connected with it as a younger woman. The settings are universal and the time periods leave me with the feeling that for women nothing has changed. There is strength in each character, and that works for and against their situations.
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Subtlety is Kingsolver's strength, and she does it especially well in short stories. I didn't care for all the stories in this collection, though all were enjoyable. It particularly appealed to me because Kingsolver chose to concentrate on people in small towns, and she must have lived in one herself, because her detailed nuances of personalities and relationships were completely accurate. My favorites were the title story, Islands on the Moon, and Why I am a Danger to the Public.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure about this, but I needed something different after all the fantasy and science fiction I've been reading. I haven't read much Kingsolver, and it's been a while since I tackled a short story collection, but I really enjoyed this one. It is such an interesting mix of stories and characters that all somehow seem to fit together--like you could find some connecting line if you looked hard enough. It got me excited about reading short stories again.
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
The more Kingsolver I read, the more I appreciate her words and feel inspired to put my own down on paper. This collection is obviously some of her earlier work, as a few pieces end rather abruptly and inconclusively. The evolution of her writing is evident, although I still find her non-fiction more compelling, fluid, and mesmerizing than her fictional contributions.
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Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist, and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in Africa in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in Biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her most famous works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, ...more
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