Unsheltered (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Unsheltered (B&N Exclusive Edition)

by Barbara Kingsolver

Hardcover(B&N Exclusive Edition)

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This exclusive edition for Barnes & Noble includes a special afterword from Barbara Kingsolver, featuring fascinating insights on her inspiration for the themes and characters in Unsheltered, her extensive historical research for this novel, and a commentary on our modern times.

The New York Times bestselling 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 readable, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062887047
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 10,981
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver’s books of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction are widely translated and have won numerous literary awards. She is the founder of the PEN/Bellwether Prize, and in 2000 was awarded the National Humanities Medal, the country’s highest honor for service through the arts. Prior to her writing career she studied and worked as a biologist. She lives with her husband on a farm in southern Appalachia.

Date of Birth:

April 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Annapolis, Maryland


B.A., DePauw University, 1977; M.S., University of Arizona, 1981

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Unsheltered: A Novel 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An insightful journey into the minds and lives of two families a century apart. A thoughtful and delightful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the contrast of 2 families living in the same house a century apart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful story of generations and how they take care of and are effected by each other.
PharisLW More than 1 year ago
I love Barbara Kingsolver's writing...her educated background brings credibility and richness to her stories' surroundings and situations. For me this book was a cliffhanger and a page-turner, a psychological roller coaster. There were many moments I had to lay down the book and just go "Wow." The Belgian Congo's upheaval which runs through the spine of this story happened during my teen years, but this book puts it all back in context. You'll come away understanding more about the Congolese culture, for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I both devoured this book and forced myself to slow down in the hopes that it would last forever. I can’t get enough Kingsolver - her work continues to shape my community and order my experiences. I am grateful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan from the start, but I find this book so boring I can't finish it. I made it to page 168. I'm sorry but these characters do nothing for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was unable to finish this book
Anonymous 2 days ago
As always, a transformative experience to read and digest a Barbara Kingsolver work of art.
Anonymous 9 months ago
The great clash of world views in the late 1800’s between science and religion and the fractures we see today around real science and the mythical constructs of fundamentalism and the religious right are nicely shown amid a backdrop of people’s lives and livelihoods.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Did not enjoy this book. Only finished because it was for my book club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Giving up there is nothing likable about these characters partly because there is very little character development. Seems more attention given to building a sentence than tying it all together in a story. Pushed myself to page 200, I have stopped reading maybe 2 books in 50 years of reading. This is one of them.
LeslieLindsay More than 1 year ago
Meticulously observed, thought-provoking novel straddling two time periods unites political and social commentary in a 'novel' form, but it might not be for everybody. I heard about UNSHELTERED (October 2018, Harper) even before it came out. I was immediately enthralled with the premise of it being a slightly-historical narrative featuring an old house--on Plum Street, no less (our first home as newlyweds was located on a Plum Street) in an actual (non-fictive community). In my mind, UNSHELTERED would be a lovely smash up of LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Celeste Ng) meets Tom Perrotta's LITTLE CHILDREN meets Lauren Acampora (THE WONDER GARDEN), with a nice, healthy dose of Barbara Kingsolver's gripping commentary. UNSHELTERED was not what I was expecting. That said, it's not exactly a *bad* book, it just wasn't for me. I wanted more about the old house and less about the social and political world. UNSHELTERED is primarily about shelter--whether that's in the form of tangible structure, people, nature, work, whatever gives one a sense of comfort. The first chapter completely had me sucked in, and I so wanted the entire book to read in that fashion...but UNSHELTERED quickly took a nosedive, which I say with apprehension, might be a polarizing read. Willa Knox seems to have it all--she's in her 50s, a writer, and her husband is a college professor. They've raised two children--now in their 20s and have relocated to the small New Jersey town of Vineland as a last resort. Willa's magazine has closed and her husband, Iano lost his tenured professor position when his college shut its doors. He's now an adjunct and she's freelancing. The house they've moved to is old, crumbling, falling down. Her son's partner has a baby, and then something horrific happens to her. This is what I was really enjoying. Switching perspectives to the late 1870s, we get a second story about the founding of Vineland--a Utopian community built upon Christian principles. This is where the stories are meant to intersect--and they do--it just takes some time to get there. Willa begins looking into the history of her newly inherited crumbling Victorian (perhaps there's some money in preservation trusts that could help with the upkeep?) and learns a forward-thinking, barrier-breaking naturalist who was a correspondence of Charles Darwin used to live in the house. Maybe. Possibly. Every other chapter alternates between these two storylines, but at first, this is jarring, disorienting and I don't typically feel that way about bifurcated narratives. Kingsolver is a fabulous writer, witty and wry at times, but UNSHELTERED missed the mark for me. I found it too preachy and lecturing, though she does honor [women] biologists and anthropologists; plus she's very on-point about the political and social, as well as meteorological climates...but I don't know...I just didn't appreciate like I had hoped.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a personal prejudice against authors/books that adopt trendy crises, topics, even cultural references, and I found this book to be filled with all of these. How many of these tragedies are we to read about -- young professionals who do not want to commit to marriage, out of wedlock children, drug addiction, massive student loan debt, housing crisis, out-of-work baby-boomers, younger child who is eschewing higher education after traveling to Cuba? The list was simply endless. I could not get interested in the characters or the incredible number of 21st century tragedies that have occurred in this one family.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
Kingsolver is known for taking on the big issues and she does the same here. Unsheltered tells the story of two families, from two different centuries, who live in the same house. The present day family struggles financially. The house is in disrepair, they are caring for an elderly parent, insurance isn’t covering it and although they did everything right, this couple is on the brink of ruin. It’s a situation that many find themselves in and it’s definitely a story readers can relate to. But the other story, the one from the past, is not as compelling. That story involves science, truth and how the people of that time would rather turn a blind eye to Darwin’s research than investigate it. Two very different families but what they have in common is the home they live in. Interesting concept, but overall, it didn’t work for me. I loved the present day story, but really did not enjoy the story from the past and found myself skimming through it. I think there are a lot of things to ponder in Unsheltered such as our failing healthcare system, but the alternating timelines caused me to ultimately lose interest in the story as a whole.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay I am confused. It doesn't seem like the reviewers read the same book! I read the reviews to decide whether or not this would be a good gift for a friend and I am so disappointed. The "glowing" reviews are seemingly written by the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book which was recommended to me by a family member. It had so many layers and really spoke beautifully about generational changes and fears. There were parts that if you read them literally might be a bit boring, but overall the humanity in the book is beautiful... it would make a great book for a discussion group.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kingsolver is a brilliant author! This novel is brilliant. Her characters are deeply formed and their voices are true. This is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the first chapter, but that was it. Gave up completely after four chapters. Almost feel bad about giving it to my favorite used book store -- really boring, really preachy, really just not good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish I could get a refund for this boring, self-aggrandizing book! Like others, I anticipated the latest from Kingsolver, but my time and money were completely wasted. It seems like the author concocted a host of low-class characters just to spout off her own personal political and cultural viewpoints. And to think I expected to lose myself in a some soothing fiction to escape the current partisan political conflicts! I'm so sick of the constant barrage from Red, Blue, Purple talking heads that I am trying to avoid political chaos from all sides. So what a disappointment to be blindsided by an author who surreptitiously substituted beautiful prose for a soap box.
Sandix More than 1 year ago
I have loved this author's past novels. I pre- ordered this one and was so exited when it came out. What a huge disappointment this was. It was so boring. I skimmed hoping it would get better. Never got better.