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Homeland and Other Stories Paperback – November 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarpPeren (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060917016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060917012
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"With this dazzling array of stories, demonstrating a wide range of characterizations, settings, situations and voices, Kingsolver confirms the promise of her astonishingly accomplished first novel, The Bean Trees ," praised PW . "If the symbolism in a few tales is too obvious, the author handles other narrative devices with delicacy and subtle skill."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kingsolver's second book--her novel, The Bean Trees ( LJ 2/1/88), won high praise--consists of uniformly affecting short stories, enhanced by real wisdom and generous warmth. Her characters, mostly mothers and daughters, uncover those memories and truths, once deeply buried, that emerge in moments of sudden crisis. In "Rose-Johnny," a young southern girl clings tightly to the ostracized woman she befriends. In "Blueprints," an unmarried Sacramento woman endures and transforms a long relationship, once happy, that threatens to turn into cabin fever. Kingsolver is not an innovator, but her voice is sure and her narrative skill accomplished. Highly recommended.
- Timothy L. Zindel, Hastings Coll. of the Law, San Francisco
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 in Annapolis, Maryland, and grew up in rural Kentucky. She counts among her most important early influences: the Bookmobile, a large family vegetable garden, the surrounding fields and woods, and parents who were tolerant of nature study but intolerant of TV.
Beginning around the age of nine, Barbara kept a journal, wrote poems and stories, and entered every essay contest she ever heard about. Her first published work, "Why We Need a New Elementary School," included an account of how the school's ceiling fell and injured her teacher. The essay was printed in the local newspaper prior to a school-bond election; the school bond passed. For her efforts Barbara won a $25 savings bond, on which she expected to live comfortably in adulthood.
After high school graduation she left Kentucky to enter DePauw University on a piano scholarship. She transferred from the music school to the college of liberal arts because of her desire to study practically everything, and graduated with a degree in biology. She spent the late 1970's in Greece, France and England seeking her fortune, but had not found it by the time her work visa expired in 1979. She then moved to Tucson, Arizona, out of curiosity to see the American southwest, and eventually pursued graduate studies in evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. After graduate school she worked as a scientific writer for the University of Arizona before becoming a freelance journalist.
Kingsolver's short fiction and poetry began to be published during the mid-1980's, along with the articles she wrote regularly for regional and national periodicals. She wrote her first novel, The Bean Trees, entirely at night, in the abundant free time made available by chronic insomnia during pregnancy. Completed just before the birth of her first child, in March 1987, the novel was published by HarperCollins the following year with a modest first printing. Widespread critical acclaim and word-of-mouth support have kept the book continuously in print since then. The Bean Trees has now been adopted into the core curriculum of high school and college literature classes across the U.S., and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
She has written eleven more books since then, including the novels Animal Dreams , Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible, and Prodigal Summer ; a collection of short stories (Homeland ); poetry (Another America ); an oral history (Holding the Line ); two essay collections (High Tide in Tucson, Small Wonder ); a prose-poetry text accompanying the photography of Annie Griffiths Belt (Last Stand ); and most recently, her first full-length narrative non-fiction, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She has contributed to dozens of literary anthologies, and her reviews and articles have appeared in most major U.S. newspapers and magazines. Her books have earned major literary awards at home and abroad, and in 2000 she received the National Humanities Medal, our nation's highest honor for service through the arts.
In 1997 Barbara established the Bellwether Prize, awarded in even-numbered years to a first novel that exemplifies outstanding literary quality and a commitment to literature as a tool for social change.
Barbara is the mother of two daughters, Camille and Lily, and is married to Steven Hopp, a professor of environmental sciences. In 2004, after more than 25 years in Tucson, Arizona, Barbara left the southwest to return to her native terrain. She now lives with her family on a farm in southwestern Virginia where they raise free-range chickens, turkeys, Icelandic sheep, and an enormous vegetable garden.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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This book was very enjoyable and a fast read.
"whoasam"
A lovely collection of stories, as is to be expected of Barbara Kingsolver's fiction.
Emily Herbert
Always insightful, entertaining and well written.
Cheree

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Manola Sommerfeld on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Rose-Johnny is the shining star in this awesome collection of short stories. It deals with many different small-town prejudices, and the outrage at the 11 year-old level that little Georgeann feels. My favorite story, from a humor standpoint, is Blueprints. Although it is not a funny story per se, the comments and thoughts that Lydia makes about Whitman's friends are hilarious. These friends are so concerned about Mother Nature and the environment, but haven't bothered to visit them once they moved out of the evil city into the foothills. These same friends insist that fertilized eggs are better for you than unfertilized eggs (show me the scientific evidence), and name their children after vegetables. I am sure these guys look at you wrong if you don't buy organic coffee beans from Guatemala. I think Barbara Kingsolver has little tolerance for those nature-type-wanna-be's (here, here).
All these and the rest of the stories are beautifully crafted, with many reflections on nature. Wonderful book, not to be missed.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Peterson on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Kingsolver, who has never written anything that hasn't awed me, manages to capture much of the very essence of the human existence in our culturally and socially backward world (and country). These stories, however, are not nearly as powerful and earth-moving for me as her novels (Prodigal Summer, Poisonwood Bible, Pigs in Heaven, etc..)

This is a collection of short stories that each deal with the frustrations that average people face in their desire to lead normal, quiet, decent lives. Frequently her personages are `different' in some way and their frustrations are compounded in economic, social, cultural and sometimes just personal ways. And the power of persistence, love, and respect is frequently what combats those frustrations. None of these stories are loud and angry, none are suspenseful or thrilling, but each is softly, powerfully moving and thought provoking.

I respond to Kingsolver because she presents her characters in ways that pull in the reader, leaving the reader as an ally, quietly rooting for the protagonist. I always recommend Kingsolver to other readers because she can enlighten you without you even knowing it!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Olivas on March 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Homeland and Other Stories" showcases Barbara Kingsolver's remarkable ear for heartland speech as well as her talent for painting the every day struggles of people through exquisite but understated detail. Kingsolver never falls into melodrama nor does she show disrespect for her characters. This is a beautiful and powerful collection.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Olivas on March 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Homeland and Other Stories" showcases Barbara Kingsolver's remarkable ear for heartland speech as well as her talent for painting the every day struggles of people through exquisite but understated detail. Kingsolver never falls into melodrama nor does she show disrespect for her characters. This is a beautiful and powerful collection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Emily Herbert on October 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
A lovely collection of stories, as is to be expected of Barbara Kingsolver's fiction. The characters are rich and dynamic, and the stories are so well developed that I wish each one was a full-length novel. Well worth the read-
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan Barksdale III on September 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Homeland and other stories is a wonderful collection of extremely well-written short stories! Exploring the themes of family and nature, Barbara Kingsolver opens our eyes to different points of view, and shows us new ways of looking at old points of view. Kingsolver is, in short, a genius! The masterpiece of this collection is Rose-Johnny, a story about a very masculine woman and the little girl who befriends her, and the price paid for truly being "different" in American Society. Other great stories are: Homeland, Stone Dreams, and Quality Time. Read this book, make your soul grow.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nina M. Osier on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Lovers whose relationship nearly founders when a new environment changes both partners in ways neither expects. A woman working in a "man's job" (mining) who suffers the consequences of a strike in ways no man possibly could. A seemingly pleasant neighbor who abuses an elderly lady's trust, but doesn't see his own actions in that light. In each of these 12 short stories, Barbara Kingsolver draws her characters clearly and says something worth remembering about life, love, and human nature. Not every writer can handle this format and the novel equally well, but Kingsolver's touch is as deft here as in her much longer works. Especially good reading for those nights when you don't want (or can't afford) to be kept up by a book you can't put down!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Barbara Kingsolver possesses an amazingly adventurous breadth of literary talent. She has written novels, short stories, essays, nonfiction, and poetry. Although I don't believe her short stories stand out as brilliantly as does the rest of her writing, they are nonetheless enjoyable reading.
The two stories in this collection that particularly stood out to me were the title story, "Homeland," and "Covered Bridges." "Homeland" is the moving story of Gloria St. Clair, a native of "a coal town hacked with sharp blades out of a forest that threatened always to take it back," and her "Great Mam," a woman who belonged to the Bird Clan, "one of the fugitive bands of Cherokee who resisted capture in the year that General Winfield Scott was in charge of prodding the forest people from their beds and removing them westward." It is particularly lyrical and full of evocative images, metaphors, and language, drawing on Kingsolver's own Kentucky and Cherokee roots and apparent love of the land and its native peoples.
"Covered Bridges" has a familiar Kingsolver protagonist with a background that reflects Kingsolver's own educational and professional background in biology, and particularly her interest in quirky, little-known biological facts. Lena is a specialist in toxicology and operates a poison hotline at the county hospital. We also discover that Lena has a deadly allergy to the stings of bees and wasps. "Covered Bridges" explores the relationship between Lena and her husband and examines the question of whether or not they want to have children.
I readily recommend Kingsolver's earlier work, but discourage reading her more recent work, starting with "Prodigal Summer." I admire her most for the risks she takes in tackling new and different projects and genres (even "Prodigal Summer"), rather than rehashing the same, well-worn theme. Reading these stories provides a fuller picture of who she is as an author and where her passions, concerns, and interests lie.
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