English Language and Literature | Fiction
The Poisonwood Bible begins with a mysterious command: "Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened." The opening lines invite us in-"First, picture the forest. I want you to be its conscience, the eyes in the trees." We are summoned to see, through these eyes, a woman and four girls on a path below, "pale doomed blossoms, bound to appeal to your sympathies. Be careful. Later on you'll have to decide what sympathy they deserve." We cannot at this point know what this means, this injunction to imagine, decide, to be the eyes in the trees; by the end of the novel, we can.
© 1999 Old City Publishing, Inc.
Greene, Gayle. “Independence Struggle.” The Women's Review of Books, vol. 16, no. 7, 1999, pp. 8–9.