Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955, and grew up in rural Kentucky. She earned degrees in biology from DePauw University and the University of Arizona, and has worked as a freelance writer and author since 1985. At various times in her adult life she has lived in England, France, and the Canary Islands, and has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America. She spent two decades in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to southwestern Virginia where she currently resides.

[From Barbara Kingsolver authorized site]


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.

[Amazon books]

Study Questions

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1. How would you compare the two husbands in this story?

2. Do you have sympathy for two such well educated people succumbing to poverty?

3. How did Zeke turn out as he did?

4. Was giving up Aldus a good thing done by Zeke?

5. How did the two women closest the Thatcher compare?

6. How much did the dialogue with Zeke and Tig tell you about the younger generation?

7. How did bricks affect Willa’s plan for the house?

8. Who were the strongest characters in the book?

9. Is the author making a statement about our society?

10. What would you have done to get out of this financial mess if you will Willa and dealing with Llano?

11. Can you name three “good guys” and the “bad guys”?

12. What was Tig saying doing when she used “three words”?




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