The latest novel by Barbara Kingsolver is two connected stories separated by 150 years. Both stories take place in Vineland, New Jersey, both involve a house that is literally falling apart, and both involve a family and an era in turmoil. The modern day story centers around Willa Knox and her family who have inherited a home that is sinking into the ground. Willa’s problems also include a right wing father-in-law who is quite ill, a daughter she can’t connect with, a son who is the sole parent of a very young child, and her husband who is a college professor who is never able to get tenure. The tale that takes place in the 1870’s centers around Thatcher Greenwood, a science teacher who locks horns with his principal, a naysayer of Darwinism. Greenwood is also living in a home that is practically unlivable and is in a marriage that the reader knows is doomed.
I was extremely disappointed with Unsheltered. The characters were one dimensional and many portions were tedious. Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Tree are proof that Barbara Kingsolver can do much better.